The annual Summer Music School (SMS) program put on an evening concert full of improv and various styles Tuesday night in the gym. SMS is a three-week long workshop headed by the Edmonds School District that promotes and teaches visual and performing arts to students.
Jazz 2 started off the night with “Sunny Moon for Two” and “The Work Song,” two blues pieces the band memorized, along with improv solos in the former.
The vocal jazz choir took center stage to perform “Little Suede Shoes” and “Always.” Both songs included lyric solos as well as catchy improvised scat solos.
Edmonds Woodway High School (EWHS) band director Jake Bergevin led Jazz 1 in performing “Killer Joe.” They followed with a performance of “Satin Doll,” which featured a high school vocalist.
Jazz 1 finished off their set with “Watermelon Man,” a hearty song including ad libs from other students not in the ensemble.
A musical theater group performed two dance pieces from the musical “Hairspray.” The EWHS theater department put on “Hairspray” during the school year; one of the leads, who was an SMS counselor this year, arranged the performance.
The camp orchestra took the stage next, performing “Yee-haw,” “A Spark of Courage,” “Old Dan Tucker” and “Wipe Out.” Guest MC Kyle Daniel Sauer engaged the audience by teaching them the lyrics to the chorus and encouraging them to sing along with him.
Lynnwood High School band director Phil Onishi introduced the general band.
“The leaders of tomorrow are right here,” Onishi said. “There’s value in this journey.”
After playing their first song, 2015 MTHS alumnus Jacob Krieger stepped up to conduct the next piece. The band then closed their set with “Jai Ho,” a Hindi piece that translates into “Let victory prevail” and opened with clapping.
SMS closed off the concert with every member collectively joining together as a choir to perform three final songs.
Orchestra director Jennifer Schillen felt the SMS concert was “over the top” with “nothing that needed to be fixed.” She felt the choir at the end was the high point of the night because while everyone participates in a different performing art, they can all sing.
This year, there were about 40 fewer students who applied for SS, allowing for smaller class sizes and more “opportunities to work closely” with music teachers, Schillen said. There were also college music majors who volunteered to teach, which SMS has not had in previous years.
“[SMS] is the funnest thing to do in the summer,” Schillen said. “It promotes music through a variety of levels.”
Nelson Green, a college staff member from Central Washington University, was glad to see everyone had fun at the concert.
“Everything was the highlight. We had all the different groups and then we all came together as a choir,” Green said.
Above all, Green enjoys that the students are able to hone their musical talent and learn about hard work.
“It’s just a really cool opportunity to connect with a lot of teachers,” Green said. “No matter what you choose to do in life, being involved in music helps you know how to work hard and how to be successful.”