Our trip to the annual jazz band festival in Berklee, Massachusetts, began on a little yellow school bus, overflowing with kids and instruments. We had not yet mastered our packing skills, with high school students spilling over the dingy seats, and instruments threatening to tumble out of their assigned placements. As a freshman, I didn’t come into this experience with any expectations, since I had never done this. However, I had gotten tips from my older brother. I wasn’t sure what would happen once we arrived, but it was exciting and with nerves flitting around in my stomach, I was ready.
We started the evening by going to a Fuddruckers and then watching the recently released Lego Batman Movie. Now I’m not going to give it any ratings or reviews, but this was probably the most interesting, yet odd movie I have ever seen. After watching the movie, we were driven a short distance to our hotel, where we spent the night in preparation for the next morning. Now going into this, I knew little about what it would be like, including how our performance would turn out.
The next morning, we woke up early to go to the festival, so that we could have time to unpack all of the instruments. My main job on this trip was carrying other people’s baggage and making sure instruments stayed on the cart. Luckily no instruments fell on my watch, but I can’t say the same for a few students who let the drum set clatter to the floor.
Entering one of Berklee’s cavernous halls, it took a moment for us to get used to the long passageways leading to different rooms, where jazz bands, combos, and even choirs competed behind closed doors for the jazz band title. We walked through a long hallway finally arriving at an old airplane hanger supplied with numerous tables in which we could place our many instruments. Since the combo went first, we had about five minutes to set up the instruments and then about twenty minutes to perform, with time for critique.
The combo performed three pieces, and then we all shuffled out until it was time for the big band to play. Before we performed, we all had some free time, which we used to seek out other bands and choirs. During those many hours, my friends and I could roam pretty much all around the building. There was an attached mall where we could get food and there were three floors worth of shops. Limitless places to go and explore.
While Waynflete didn’t get first place, we had so much fun seeing all of the other jazz bands and getting the opportunity to be able to participate in such a fun and lively event. I look forward to participating in the jazz band festival for the years to come. For more information and pictures about the event, click here.