Jazz Band Holds Annual Glenn Miller Night

Johanna Svensson, Staff Writer

On Jan. 27 the jazz band put on their annual Glenn Miller Night performance including swing dancing lessons and food from Ferrari’s Pizzeria.

“Glenn Miller Night is a tribute to the influential trombonist Glenn Miller,” senior saxophone player Matthew You said. “He was a pioneer of Big-Band Jazz and has changed how jazz music is played.”

The night also allowed for people in the community to connect with Plano West, even though they are not directly involved with the school.

“The event is a fundraiser for the jazz band,” You said, “but it’s a form of community outreach as well. Swing dancers from the community come just to dance even though they have no connection to Plano West.”

People that have come to the event in past years returned this year with a special new aspect to add to the evening.

“Normally a couple comes to dance but this year they held swing dancing lessons,” You said. “This is the first year the event offered dance lessons as well as the performance.”

The jazz band members needed to get the word out into the community.

“We used social media to inform the community,” senior Alex Maragakis said. “This allowed students as well as other people living in Plano to hear about the event.

The jazz band began learning their songs shortly prior to the event, which gave them little time to prepare and perfect the pieces.

“We started learning the songs about two weeks before the event,” senior trombone player Ally Bates said. “The Jazz Education Network (JEN) is a traveling group that goes to jazz events like this and we found out they were coming, so we took longer to decide on our pieces.”

Although the event was a concert to show off their hard work and talent, Bates was calm during the event.

“I wasn’t as nervous during the actual performance because I would look into the audience and see people dancing and enjoying themselves,” Bates said. “It inspired me to play better and have more fun because I saw other people doing that.”

For Bates, the event was one she will never forget as it is her first and only year performing at the event.

“It was so exciting,” Bates said. “All my friend came to support me and they got to hear how much I’ve grown as a musician.”

Maragakis was happy to see familiar faces come back to listen to the new jazz band.

“People who were in jazz band in past years came back to visit just for this event,” Maragakis said. “Jazz musicians from other schools came too. It was a really special event.”