It was a packed house last Wednesday evening inside Rialto High School’s theater as area students took center stage for the first-ever “Jazz Through the Ages” showcase.
The musical variety, which featured student talents from five area schools, was presented by Henry Elementary Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School and held in celebration of April’s Jazz Appreciation Month.
Spearheading the event was Henry Principal Mariyon Thompson, who along with Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson and school district officials, worked to make the inaugural event possible in order to provide students an opportunity to explore musical talents.
“The goal was to not only put on a concert, but to also teach students about music history,” Thompson said.
“It’s our motto,” she said about Henry Elementary.
“Where the arts inspire excellence.”
Opening the show was Raven Griffin, a fifth grader from Werner, offering a history of jazz.
The introduction prepped the audience for the showcase ahead.
Performers from Eisenhower’s Jazz Choir and Henry Jazz Dancers hit the stage with choreographed numbers to “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” and “New York New York,” while first graders from Henry Elementary belted out their rendition of the Disney hit, “Frozen.”
Each performance, along with the dozen more that followed, received cheers that filled the theater.
And the show didn’t end with student talent.
Closing out the showcase were teachers dancing and singing to the hit song, “Happy.”
Plans for a second Jazz Through the Ages concert are already in talks, Thompson said, but only if there’s one minor change.
“I’ve already been told that next year’s concert has to be held at a bigger venue.”