Swing Club and Jazz Band performed for seniors

Swing Club and Jazz Band performed in the Swingin’ Good Times Dinner and Dance Friday, April 22 at the Walnut Senior Center.

The event, hosted by English teacher Jennifer Maletz, featured entertainment provided by members in Jazz Band, Swing Club and Liberty City, a band outside of school.

“I’m taking a class in community leadership, and we have to create a project that meant something to us. I was a dancer and band singer, so I know that this is a great opportunity to bridge the gap between generations through music and dance,” Maletz said.

Students were given the opportunity to participate in January, and immediately began rehearsing to prepare for this event.

“At first, honestly, I was a little bit nervous [when the plan was proposed] because the music directors were not involved in this, and I had to organize everything on my own time separate from school,” senior Ryan Maidment said. “It was just hard finding time to get everyone organized and get people on board. Mostly, it was just nervousness, but I was excited to do it. I had a lot of hope for this event.”

Jazz Band students chose to play swing music to match with the theme of the dance.

“It’s really fun because I know that when I’m playing [music], they’re enjoying it and they want to get up and dance. It makes me really like playing the saxophone and jazz knowing that there are people who want to dance to it,” sophomore Matthew Anderson said. “It’s really relaxing because I get to see all of the older people dance and do what they used to do back in the day.”

After the performance, seniors joined students on the dance floor to swing to old tunes.

“I think it’s a really unique experience because a lot of us feel disconnected from the older generations, mostly because of the gap that technology has brought upon us. Most of us spend a lot of our time on our phones or computers, but most of [the seniors] went out dancing when they were young, so it’s kind of like them getting to feel young again and we connecting with them,” Swing Club vice president senior Calvin Hua said.

Aside from members from school clubs and the seniors, family members and parents also accompanied the group.

“[This event] brings the community together, and I think that sometimes we end up being segmented by our ages and not mingling,” Maletz said. “Here in Walnut High School, we have an amazing group of dancers who enjoy music from a very different generation from the one [they] are from, so there’s a bridge of music and dance that can create a connection within the community. I saw that as a real possibility.”

By Jessica Huang, Staff writer

Photo courtesy of Nick Widjaya