As members of the Pine View Jazz Band file into their classroom for their first rehearsal after spring break, band director Victor Mongillo’s handwritten note on the dry-erase board serves as extra motivation to hit the ground running: “Jazz Band: Five rehearsals until Jazz Under the Stars.”
Saturday, March 23, the Pine View Jazz Band will host its sixth annual Jazz Under the Stars event. A favorite among both band members and attendees, the fundraiser concert affords the band a chance to forego traditional concert formalities and enjoy a night of music under the stars.
Mongillo started the concert six years ago as a unique way to showcase the jazz band; it is held on the grassy Pine View Quad. Each year, family, friends and faculty lounge in lawn chairs and on blankets to enjoy the hour-and-a-half performance.
“It’s a great change of pace for the band,” says Mongillo. “It’s a relaxed evening, and it always draws a wonderful crowd. The band always looks forward to it.”
Mongillo says he’s impressed with the level of talent in the band.
“We have an incredibly good rhythm section that’s been playing together for three years now,” he says. “You can tell all the students thoroughly enjoy the music; I think it’s a release for a lot of them.”
Because the band regularly earns superior rankings in competition, it receives invitations to more exclusive festivals and competitions, including the State Jazz MPA competition April 1 and its first out-of-state competition at the Boston Heritage Festival April 4 to April 7. Funds donated during Jazz Under the Stars will help fund those trips.
As the concert approaches, Mongillo says he’s focused on building the students’ endurance for the extended set and on continuing to develop their ability to play more expressively and “get past more than just notes on a page.”
“Jazz is my first love,” says Mongillo. “I have a special connection with it, and it’s nice to see they’ve really grabbed onto the style. The generation that grew up listening to this music isn’t going to be around forever, so it’s up to them to keep the genre alive.”
IF YOU GO
JAZZ UNDER THE STARS
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 23
Where: Pine View School, 1 Python Path, Osprey
Cost: Free; donations encouraged