In his second year at Leesville, Christopher Serina, director of bands at LRHS, is jazzing things up. Serina recently announced that he will be holding auditions for a Leesville jazz band. “We have a lot of talented musicians at Leesville,” said Serina, “and jazz is an avenue of music I think many of the students here would enjoy, but we don’t have a jazz band.”
The proposed ensemble will consist of two alto saxophones, two tenor saxophones, one baritone saxophone, five trumpets, five trombones, one drum set, one guitar, one piano and one bass.
“This would give musicians from all three bands and the other music classes a chance to come together,” said Serina, “and experience a new style of music, while participating in jazz events that we haven’t been able to in the past.”
Jacob Secor, first chair tenor saxophone in the symphonic band, expressed his excitement at the chance to audition. “Everything I do happens to include music,” said Secor, “and I’m interested in building on the idea of a jazz band at Leesville.”
Though he appreciates a wide range of music, Secor says he finds jazz one of the most enjoyable genres and identifies Charlie Parker as his favorite jazz musician. “I love the creativity in improvisation and the energy in the music,” said Secor. “Anywhere I go, I’m playing jazz.”
Sam Massimila, first chair trumpet in the symphonic band, was also enthusiastic about the auditions. “I love playing lead trumpet, I love improvising, and I love expressing my feelings through music,” said Massimila. “Music is what I plan to do for the rest of my life, and jazz was really the first kind of music I got into.”
Massimila revealed his favorite musical sub-genre to be New Orleans jazz, especially the works of Wynton Marsalis. “Jazz is the foundation of my musical career because it’s why I started playing the trumpet,” said Massimila, “I like how it tells a story, I like how it swings, and I like how it makes you move.”
“I always played in the jazz band when I was in high school,” said Serina. “I would love to add a concert here at Leesville, along with a community event or two.” Though his job requires an appreciation of diverse musical styles, Serina has always had a soft spot for jazz–particularly the music of the Count Basie Orchestra. “I like the ability to make music fun through a mix of spontaneity and precision,” said Serina. “Elements of both predictability and unpredictability come together to form a wonderful genre of music.”