All that jazz

First Posted: 3/3/2015

CLARKS SUMMIT — On one of many cold winter evenings, families and friends of approximately 95 Abington Heights Middle School students packed the school’s auditorium for the Fifth Grade Winter Band Concert on Feb. 26.

Among the crowd-pleasing tunes students played were “Long, Long Ago,” “Big Beat Ago,” “Are You Sleeping,” “A Touch of Rock,” “Oh When the Saints” and “The Hey Song.” The band was comprised of flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trombones, baritones and drums and was under the direction of Susan Gyr, with assistance from Mary Kay Kuzma and Deano Noto, middle school music teachers.

Gyr said she selected the music based on what her students, a beginning group, can play well.

“The past performance was very solid and enjoyable,” she said. “I am rewarded to see musicianship and confidence develop in the children…the skill of reading music is a lifelong tool. Confidence and self-esteem are present when children are a part of a successful organization.”

Kuzma, an assistant band and orchestra teacher, played bass drum during the concert.

“I was in the drum section playing bass drum. I think the band did a fantastic job at their first band concert. It’s amazing at how quickly the concert goes compared to the amount of work they put in leading up to their performance,” said Kuzma.

“It takes a lot of practice to help develop their muscles specific to each instrument,” she continued. “I love it when a student has a ‘lightbulb’ moment when they are trying new music or even something they thought they knew well.”

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