HOOVER – Jazz music from legends like Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald filled the Spain Park High School library on Feb. 24 as the Shades of Blue Jazz Band performed in honor of Black History Month.

The band played a variety of well-known songs, including “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” with several pieces featuring student vocalists.

A limited number of guests were allowed inside the library to watch the performance, which was also livestreamed via the school’s Facebook page.

“I was very pleased with what the students were able to do,” SPHS Band Director Chris Neugent said. “It’s been a year of challenges for everyone. For them to be able to prepare a 30-minute concert of excellent big-band music that reflected lots of different time periods and highlighted the influence and effects African American bandleaders and composers had on our nation was awesome.”

The song list included the following (student vocalists are also noted):

  • “Sing, Sing, Sing”
  • “It Don’t Mean a Thing” – vocal solo by senior Chandler Young
  • “The Girl from Ipanema” – vocal solo by sophomore Maria Ritchey
  • “Honk”
  • “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” – vocal solo by junior Ross Cooley
  • “Get It On”
  • “Sir Duke”

Neugent said students had been working on the songs since school resumed after winter break, but the district’s staggered schedule until Jan. 19 meant students could not begin rehearsing as one group until about two weeks
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