Crescendo musicians shine

Torrance Corps hosts Crescendo Jazz All Stars concert.
By Karen Gleason –

The Crescendo Jazz All Stars, conducted by Tim Nail, held their first concert of 2017 on Jan. 17 at the Torrance (Calif.) Corps to a standing room only audience. Both the junior and senior bands performed; the junior band comprises 22 middle school students and the senior band includes 16 high school students. Operating out of The Salvation Army Crescendo School of Music and Dance at the Torrance Corps, the All Stars include students from different schools throughout the South Bay area who auditioned for the groups.
Unlike a traditional Salvation Army brass band, the jazz bands incorporate more instruments including saxophone, clarinet, flute, stringed bass, guitar and piano. The musical arrangements allowed individual performers to showcase their skills during solo sections.
“It was wonderful to see so many young people playing to such a high standard, with most of them only joining the ensemble this past September, said Kevin Larsson, Southern California Divisional Music Ministries Director. “It was a large audience, mainly consisting of parents and friends of the performers. Once the corps is fully engaged and committed to this program, I am convinced that we will see significant growth.”
The Junior Jazz All Stars played a set of tunes by Bruce Pearson and Dean Sorenson: “Uncle Milo’s Side Show,” “River Rat Shuffle,” “Boss’s Madeira,” “Buffalo Head” and “Blues at Frog Bottom.” The senior band performed works by Duke Ellington–”C-Jam Blues,” Harlem Airshaft,” “Bojangles,” Carnegie Blues,” “Such Sweet Thunder” and “Magnolias Dripping with Molasses”–and “So Easy” by Ted Dameron.
The Senior Jazz All Stars will be recording three of the Duke Ellington numbers to audition for the Essentially Ellington Competition and a chance to perform at Lincoln Center in New York City this spring.
A program of the Southern California Division, Crescendo opened in September 2015, and offers lessons in brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, guitar and vocal, as well as dance including beginning ballet for all age groups, hula and Indian classical dance. “Mommy and Me” musical exploration classes for children aged 1-3 will begin in late January. Garry and Julie Lawrence are director and assistant director, respectively. Majors Brian and Millie Bearchell are Torrance Corps Officers.
Crescendo also partners with “Music Does It!,” which specializes in music therapy for children and adults with autism and related needs.
“This program offers private therapeutic music instruction and soon will be starting music skill development groups and socializing fun groups through music for all ages,” Julie Lawrence said.
Ultimately, through the ministry of music, the goal of the school is to “bring people into fellowship of The Salvation Army, and for them to build a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Larsson said.

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