NSA bands dazzle crowd at spring concert

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 8, 2003

Special to the News-Herald

Spring school concerts are a tradition throughout the country. From coast to coast, concerts, celebrating the end of the school year are as common as the prom.

Recently the Nansemond Suffolk Academy Upper and Lower school concert and jazz bands, under the skilled direction of Carrie Swatsworth-Estes, entertained several hundred family and friends with a wide range of music from movie themes to a moving patriotic tribute by Robert Sheldon called &uot;Ghost Fleet&uot;.

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The evenings activities started with the 7th grade Jazz Band playing &uot;Basie-cally,&uot; featuring Katherine Lowder, soloist. This was followed by the easily recognizable &uot;James Bond Theme&uot; which spotlighted John Lutz as soloist.

The next group to perform was the 6th grade concert band. John O’Reilly’s &uot;Enchanted Wizard&uot; led this group’s performance followed by Brian Balmages &uot;Gettysburg – A Civil War Portrait,&uot; and Robert W. Smith’s &uot;Glorioso&uot;.

Jazz music returned to the stage as the Upper School Jazz band picked up the tempo with selections including &uot;Don’t Mean A Thing&uot; and &uot;Ain’t Misbehavin’.&uot; Followed by the 7th Grade Concert Band which performed, &uot;When the Koala do the Conga With the Kangaroos, Two British Folk Songs&uot;, and Jerry Nowak’s &uot;Advance Guard&uot;.

The final Group to perform was the award winning Upper School Concert Band which opened with John Philip Sousa’s &uot;The Thundeer&uot; followed by &uot;Fantasy For Band,&uot; &uot;Ghost Fleet,&uot; &uot;Hymn for Band&uot; and &uot;Folk Dances.&uot; &uot;Ghost Fleet&uot; was especially powerful as it celebrates the Maritime Admin-istration’s &uot;James River Fleet&uot; which are retired warships and auxiliaries that have actually been re-commissioned for service in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the concert’s program, &uot;the music represents the ‘spirits’ of these ships as the ghostly fleet breaks free, returning to the high sea and the former days of glory.&uot;

The piece &uot;Hymn For The Band&uot; was a unique piece which, according to the program, &uot;evolves around a modal thematic material, supported primarily by minor tertian harmonies and chords based on open fifths.&uot;

Besides allowing an opportunity for each of the school’s bands to display their talents,this concert further celebrated the achievements of

the seniors who are in the band. This group included: Jessica Bertram (flute),

Jeff Woodyard (Percussion),

and Ben Boone (percussion).

Other performers included (Upper School Concernt Band): Flute, Meliss Lowder (piccolo), Jessica Bertram, Heather Critz, Donna Stenstrum, Amanda Bertram and Julie Kessler; Clarinet, Katey Watson, Danielle Waller and Precious Smith; bass clarinet, Ben Parmenter; alto saxophone, Chase Godwin, David Gill, Robert Doherty and Nash Sims; trumpet, Brandon DeLong, Sean Williams, Erin Matson, Joey DiRenzo, James Winslow, Sean Tennant and Frank George; French horn, Holly Anne Hillard; Tombone, Matt Norman, Hannah Trostle, Brent Parham and Sean Hurd; tuba, Kevin Glover; percussion, Jeff Woodward, Carrie Shepheard, Ben Boone, Cameron Boone, Mandy Jones and Marissa Spruell.

Members of the 6th Grade Concert Band included: Flute, Rebecca Hofler, Jamie Iiames and Jayne Mantos; clarinet, Brooke Babb, Sara Cotz and Megan Snyder; alto saxophone, Brian Franklin, Matthew Waller; Garrett Wiser; tenor saxophone, Rich Burmmett; trumpet, Jacob Branchaud, Michael Coburn, Joshua Iiames,

Harrison Levin, Jesse Sanderson, Owen Skiles and Jennifer Ward; french horn, Erin Tennant; trombone, Kyle Williams; baritone, Nathan Lyons, Hunt Odom; percussion, Nathan Criddle, Kersti Francis and Tyler Menefee.

Members of the 7th Grade Concert Band included: Flute, Katherine Blanks, Roxanne Holland and Heather Kleister; clarinet, Jade Bishop, Katherine Lowder and Jennifer Norris; bass clarinet, Harrison Nelms; alto saxophone, John Lotz and Ian McHorney; trumpet, Trisha Breslauer, Matthew Davenport, Allen Hotchkiss and Dana Hunting; french horn, Jeff Kelsey; trombone, Dean Manno; percussion, Jess Cox, Spencer Norman, Tracy Travison and Craig Zirpo.

Joe DiRenzo III is resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist.