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Proud Moments – Central High School’s Jazz Band

We met with Central High School’s Jazz Band on Wheel Wednesday! Wheel Wednesday is different from the student’s traditionally daily improvisation as they sit in a circle moving around the circle clockwise to allow for each student to improvise. Central High School Band Director and Manchester School District’s Fine Arts Director, Ed Doyle directs the band but the students are skilled and trained to move around the circle on their own without direction. This skill is remarkable to see in a high school band as many professional musicians can not improvise as these students were able to. 

Video of Wheel Wednesday Improv: 

About being a part of the Jazz Band, Central High School Senior, Colleen says, “The best part is that it is smaller than Concert Band, we work off each other so much”. Watching their performance, the group truly feeds off each other. Central High School Sophomore, Nick says, “Jazz allows for more opportunity to be creative and try new things”. About the group, Ed Doyle says, “This is a real supportive group…they can make mistakes but expand and recover from them”. Expanding on this, Central High School Senior, Patrick says, “I started on piano but moved to guitar for Jazz Band, it’s been a really good opportunity to fool around and experiment with this new instrument”. 

The Jazz Band has a whole has 19 students and there are three combos within this group. On March 16, 2024, the UNH Clark Terry Jazz Festival took place in Durham, NH. This festival featured over 30 schools from all across New England. The whole Jazz Band performed and later that day a combo of seven students performed. The combo performed three songs. Agua de Beber, Black Nile, and Cienfuegos.

They received an Outstanding Performance Plaque as well as four individual awards for piano, drums, bass, and trombone. About the judgment, Central High School Junior, Tommy says, “The judges worked with us, they gave us ideas of ‘how about this?’” and Colleen added, “It was more than just critiques but suggestions”. About their recognition, students talked about the pride that they have in the music program as many other schools performing at this event typically have more funding. When asked what they were most proud of, the students agreed that they were proud of all three pieces equally.

See the Students with the award here: 

See a video of students performing Agua de Beber here:

We were able to chat with the students in depth about their inspiration, they listed over 40 Jazz musicians from Duke Ellington to Al Green to Ella Fitzgerald to J.J. Johnson. Their music education here in Manchester is rich both with the skill to play their instrument and with other musicians but also their exploration of music history and music theory. 

Congratulations to the group on their accomplishments! 

Ed Doyle, Central High School Band Director and Manchester School District Fine Arts Director 

Patrick DeFelice, Guitar, 12

Oliver Jaquez, Alto Saxophone, 12

Serenity Newton, Bass, 12

Colleen Stankiewicz, Flute, 12

Tommy Martineau, Trombone, 11

Jonah Therrien, Drums, 10

Nicholas Valiton, Piano, 10

Mark your calendars to hear this group as well as other jazz programs in the Manchester School District for April 30, 2024 at 6 pm at the REX Theatre. 

Information here: A Night of Jazz at the Rex Theatre

Manchester Proud Update – March 2024

In the heart of Manchester, New Hampshire, at Beech Street Elementary School, community collaboration and commitment to student success took center stage at the recent Manchester Proud Spring into Summer Resource Fair. Organized jointly by Manchester Proud and the Manchester School District, this event emerged as a resounding success!  Nearly 40 community partners showed up to demonstrate the power of collective effort in fostering educational opportunities and supporting the holistic development of our city’s youth. 

Manchester Proud, a community-based organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of public school education in the city, has been a driving force behind initiatives aimed at empowering students and enriching their learning experiences. The Spring into Summer Resource Fair served as a tangible manifestation of this mission, bringing together educators, community leaders, businesses, and families to provide a diverse array of resources and opportunities for students in the upcoming summer months. From academic enrichment programs to recreational activities to career exploration workshops, the fair offered something for every student, regardless of their interests, background, or age. 

By providing access to summer learning programs, tutoring services, and extracurricular activities, the fair aimed to connect families with opportunities outside the traditional school year through summer camps, internships, jobs, and more. Beyond academic enrichment, the fair also fostered community engagement and collaboration. Local businesses and organizations came together to offer their support and resources, forging partnerships that will continue to benefit the city’s youth long after the event ended. By uniting stakeholders from across the community, the fair reinforced the notion that student success is a collective responsibility—one that requires the active involvement of educators, families, and the broader community.

As the sun set on Spring into Summer,  300 families were better informed on the options for their children to enjoy an enriching summer. By championing student success through career-connected learning and expanded learning time, the event exemplified the transformative impact that collaborative efforts can have on educational outcomes. Moving forward, Manchester Proud remains steadfast in its commitment to providing opportunities to champion student success through collaboration and partnerships, ONWARD!