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Back You are here: Home Features Events and Features Life on the Island Murray Middle School’s Jazz Band

Murray Middle School’s Jazz Band

By: Libby Gibson
Staff Writer

There is a lot of talent in and out of New Hanover County Schools, but there is certainly one talent that has caught the eye of the entire school district including the eyes of the 2013 Azalea Festival this year. That talent would be the Murray Middle School Jazz Band. 
On Friday, April 5, 2013 Murray Middle School’s Jazz Band students was invited to UNCW to take part in UNCW’s Jazz Fest.  This performance took place at Beckwith Recital Hall in the Cultural Arts Building.  This was an amazing opportunity for Murray Middle School since this was the first time a middle school had participated at the Jazz Fest.  Under the direction of Murray’s band teacher, David Tyson, the students performed jazz selections such as Caravan, Satin Doll, Blue Trane, and Manteca.  The students who performed these selections were seventh and eighth grade students, while other sixth and seventh grade students listened in the audience.  A huge surprise after the performance, the band was critiqued by professional tenor sax player Jack Wilkins. 
He gave students tips on better techniques when performing, therefore, the students were very excited about the critique they received by the professional.  Eighth grade student Harris Hord, who plays baritone saxophone said, “I felt inspired by Mr. Wilkins.”  Alto saxophone player Maddie Slaughter said, “I had a lot of fun and enjoyed learning from Jack Wilkins.”  Another student, Justin Balderson, who also plays alto saxophone said, “I was surprised at how much we learned and how much more there is to know.”
On Wednesday 10, 2013, the Murray Middle Jazz Band traveled to attend the Azalea Queen’s Coronation ceremony in front of the Alton Lennon Federal Building in Downtown Wilmington at the riverfront.  The students took turns “trading fours” (performing solos) the students also played a fanfare when the Queen was crowned and the crown was being placed on the Queen Azalea’s head.  What an experience these middle school students had.  Not only do they play with a jazz, but they are also very proud and honored to have been able to be chosen to attend such an sophisticated event.  On Friday 11, 2013, it was the start of a gloomy and rainy day for everyone in New Hanover County. Everyone thought that the Azalea Festival events were going to be ruined by the weather, well, guess what, the show went on, rain or shine, nothing will keep the Azalea Festival from happening here in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Thanks again to Mr. Tyson and his jazz band, they took that rainy and gloomy day and brightened everything up with their smooth jazz at Independence Mall where the Azalea Festival events moved to due to the rainy and gloomy weather.  At Independence Mall, the Garden Tour’s kicked off the ribbon cutting.  The Murray Middle Jazz Band received so many compliments from the public at the mall and the people with the Azalea Festival Event.  The students’ performance and behavior was impeccable, they represented Murray Middle School with the up most respect and their music was played beautifully each time they played, with class, honor, and pride.  David Tyson has worked very hard on the music program at Murray Middle School and I think we all believe that he represents NHCS as well as the community with the upmost highest respects, after all of this, I believe it says it all for David Tyson….Congrats Mr. Tyson on a job Well Done!!