A gorgeous night of jazz and Manchester music

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A 21st century approach to 20th century music.

“A gorgeous night of jazz and Manchester music”~ Ellie Seney

On International Jazz Day, Tuesday 30 April 2024, The Rex hosted a jazz music night. Not just any jazz concert, but parents, past and present students and professionals who support the Manchester School System Jazz Band Music Program’s annual fundraiser.

jazz night

The first half of “Jazz Night” featured performances from Hillside Middle School (Director Mr. Matthew Redmond), West High School (Director Ms. Rebecca Berger), Memorial High School (Director Mr. Timothy Russell) and Central High School (Mr. Edward Doyle, Principal).

Hillside Middle School Jazz Band photo by Keith Spiro
Hillside Middle School Jazz Band. Mr. Matthew Redmond, Director Photo | Keith Spiro

The band from Hillside Middle School gave an outstanding performance with a poise and precision far beyond their peers. This is a great way to set the pace and kick off the night. Everyone stayed throughout the plan. Back when the Central Conservatory of Music began offering jazz band performances, my own children benefited greatly from these music programs. The program has come a long way since then. Manchester’s jazz and music program shows its depth of skill and experience.

West High School Jazz Band Photo: Keith Spiro

Manchester Jazz Orchestra plans fundraiser

The event is a fundraiser for the Manchester Jazz Band Music Project. Manchester School District Fine Arts Director Ed Doyle and Rex Theater Manager Warren O’ Reilly work closely together to make this a powerful community-building event.

Palace Theater chief executive Peter Ramsey works quietly behind the scenes. He and his entire organization are always innovative and supportive of making the performing arts accessible to everyone.

Warren O'Reilly and Ed Doyle Photography: Keith Spiro
Neither Warren O’Reilly (left) nor Ed Doyle wants to be in the spotlight, but both deserve recognition for their ongoing community-building efforts.Photo | Keith Spiro

Memorial High School Jazz Band Photo: Keith Spiro
Memorial High School Jazz Band. Mr. Timothy Russell, Director.Photo | Keith Spiro

Central High School Jazz Band Photo: Keith Spiro
Central High School Jazz Band. Mr. Edward Doyle, Director.Photo | Keith Spiro

Play forward

After a short intermission, the Freese Brothers Big Band performed. This amazing group of music professionals was formed in 1982 by four Freese brothers who played together in a family troupe, dating back to the 1930s.

Their purpose then and now is to support and encourage the development of the musical talents of its members, particularly young musicians.The band is a volunteer organization that created a way to “play it forward” with a band Freese Brothers Big Band Memorial Scholarship Granted 9th– 11th A grade student attending a New Hampshire school.

The application window for the 2024 scholarship program is now open until May 13, 2024.

Freese Brothers Big Band photo by Keith Spiro
Freese Brothers Big Band.Photo | Keith Spiro

More than half of the members of the Frith Brothers big band performing on the Rex Stage on Tuesday have connections to schools in Manchester or people who teach music in Manchester.

Hometown musical powerhouse Alli Beaudry (Central Class of 2002) delivered a powerful performance of her jazz numbers. She mentioned that hearing the voice of singer Norah Jones for the first time solidified her belief that this was her path!

Ellie Saini Photography: Keith Spiro
Alli Seney is a special guest performer.Photo | Keith Spiro

Saini began singing with the Central High School Jazz Band (then under the direction of Ed Sterling) at age 17, and soon after, the summer before college, with the Freese Brothers Big Band. Saini is the one who came up with the title, describing the event as a “glam night of jazz and Manchester music”. Jazz has always been close to my heart. The feeling of having a big band of over 20 people howling behind you is immeasurable.

Music makes everything possible

From the stage, she described the power of music to make great things possible. Ed Doyle described music as a great way to open up and learn about the world and said it was “very appropriate that this event takes place on International Jazz Day”.

Bab Baines, a former music teacher, principal of Manchester High School West and mayor of the City of Manchester, formed connections with many of the performers after the show. His warmth and deep connection are clearly visible.

Manchester School District hosts “Jazz Night.” Hillside Middle School, West, Memorial and Central high schools are all well represented. Jazz Band honors the past while expanding the opportunities of the present. Most importantly, they also open more doors to the future.

Music directors at four schools Photo: Keith Spiro
Musical Directors (from left) Matthew Raymond (Hillside), Ed Doyle (centre), Rebecca Berger (west) and Timothy Russell Timothy Russell (Memorial Hall).Photo | Keith Spiro


Alli Seney’s online social media post summed up the event brilliantly:

“Tonight is a beautiful tribute to the multi-generational impact that the Manchester HS Jazz Band program has had on so many people.”

“It was so inspiring to hear up-and-coming jazz musicians honing their craft tonight in Central, West, Memorial and Hillside. Keep playing and keep believing in yourself and our amazing community.

Keep supporting the arts!

JazzDSC 4212
Collection. Please contact Warren at Rex Hotel.

important day

Freese Brothers Big Band Scholarship Application Deadline May 13, 2024

Freese Brothers Big Band will return to The Rex on October 20, 2024 at 2pm

Keith Spiro Communications.Good people do great things
Stories of good people doing great things.

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