Ridgefield High School’s instrumental spring concert held last month under the direction of Michael McNamara included performances by the school’s symphonic orchestra, chamber orchestra, jazz band, concert band and a percussion ensemble.
The evening started out with a delightful contemporary percussion piece called “Pipe Dream” which incorporated numerous drums, bells, vibraphone and marimba. The chamber orchestra followed, playing Brahms Suite with polished intensity. Then the jazz band took the stage and mixed things up with selections that included Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins and Bertolt Brecht. The improvisation on Jimmy Herring’s “Scapegoat Blues” featured a “playoff” between two longtime friends: guitarist Jason Bangser and bassist Josh Gardos. These seniors could easily be first round draft picks if jazz had its own national league. The final piece, Mack the Knife, brought the house down with Lindsay Spallone singing scat a la Ella Fitzgerald.