As annual spring traditions return, Boston Latin School Big Band have picked up right where they left off, performing at the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education’s (MAJE) Cape Cod District Festival. There, they brought home a gold medal and continued their winning streak at the next level of competition. Big Band recently earned a gold medal at the State Finals on March 26.
Big Band is highly regarded for their work, and members note that being part of this music community brings them a sense of pride. Viny Saadieh (I), who won an Outstanding Musician award at State Finals for baritone saxophone, shares, “Being part of Big Band gives you a sense of belonging and achievement. […] With a lot of hard work comes not only gold medals but success throughout your life.”
In addition to their collective success this season, several individual Big Band students received recognition for their performance. At the MAJE Cape Cod Festival, Outstanding Musicianship Awards were presented to Constantine Kotsikonas (I) on trombone, Joe Pucillo (I) on bass, and Josh Zhang (I) on alto saxophone. Zhang also received the festival’s MVP Award for Division I. Special recognition continued at the state level, where Kotsikonas, Saadieh, and Zhang all won individual awards.
Big Band members who perform on stage are not the only ones who spend many hours of hard work. Staff members also contribute by helping musicians two days every week — one in a full band and one in sectionals — to ensure all are prepared to perform live. Faculty members, such as after school arts instructor Mr. Paul Pitts, band director Mr. Dennison Blackett, and the section coaches, played a significant role in the band’s success.
Zhang provides insight on the work outside of rehearsals, saying, “I would say the secret to Big Band’s success is additional engagement outside of rehearsals. […] So many members in the band transcribe jazz pieces, form their bands and work on personal projects out of their interest. I think as long as that kind of passion is there, Big Band will have the talent and drive to succeed.”
For many Big Band members, there is no place like home. Performing for fellow students brings great joy both to the band and to audience members. In addition to their win at State Finals, Big Band continued to share their talents at the annual BLS Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Awareness on March 25.
Despite their recent successes, BLS Big Band’s journey is far from complete. On May 15, Big Band will take the stage once again, this time at Boston’s Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. The entire BLS community is invited to come out to support Big Band and celebrate their incredible success!