North and South came together to fundraise for the Newton Music Ambassadors Scholarship Fund (MASF) with a concert featuring North’s Jazz Ensemble 1 and 2 and Advanced Jazz Improv in addition to South’s jazz groups. Attendees listened to casual music and contributed to the fund at the cash bar, raffle, and silent auction. The event was on Dec. 1 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Hibernian Hall in Watertown.
MASF was founded by Labedz and South music teacher Lisa Linde to fill the gap of the lack of domestic travel scholarships for Newton music students.
Music teacher Richard Labedz estimated that the concert generated around $10,000 with a small portion used to pay for the event.
When the concert was first held two years ago, they raised around $15,000, and all of the proceeds were directed towards domestic travel costs. They were able to pay the full cost of the of the New Orleans trip from two years ago for two students and reduce the overall cost as well.
According to Labedz, this time around, he would like to spend some of the money on enrichment opportunities for North and South musicians in addition to domestic travel scholarships. The concert raised a little under $20,000 this year, according to senior Ryan Park.
Describing the concert’s “casual” vibe, Park, a member of Jazz Ensemble I, explained, “There’s drinks on the side, but it’s mostly for the music and to support this program.”
North bands performed music from their repertoire, including “Brasiliance” by Duke Ellington and “Tippin’ on the Q.T.” by Buck Clayton, which they performed at Harvestfest I.
“It’s really open and we start it off with the rhythm section so they can play whatever they want and you just listen and play what you want,” said Park. “There’s not too much structure to it. It’s fun.”
Junior Myles Hoffman, who plays trumpet in Jazz Ensemble I, said his favorite piece is “Honk” by Jeff Jarvis because “it’s funk music, and who doesn’t love funk? Also, Aidan Devine just rips it on the bass.”
In addition to the student performers, the benefit was also made possible by parent volunteers, donors, and donations from local businesses, including The Paint Bar, Lee’s Burgers, Upswing Jazz Quintet, and others.
According to the MASF website, advertisements, sponsorships, donations, and messages in ad books from this concert and 15 other concerts also help the fund.
Labedz said,“I think the best part is everybody coming together, and it really being a fun community event of people seeing each other, playing together, hearing each other, and having a good evening.”