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All the right notes

By Staff | May 18, 2016

They performed classical and contemporary, on stage and in the aisles, in a group and solo.

That’s why “Kaleidoscope” was the perfect name for the final performance of the year for the North Fort Myers High School musical department; every time you turned, you saw something different.

There was certainly something for everybody Friday at the school auditorium during a two-hour performance, and it was all played to near perfection, a perfect payoff after a hard year’s work by Sara Johnson’s musicians.

“I’m pleased with it. I think the kids had a good time, which is the best thing about it,” Johnson said. “They get to play real cool music they’ve been working on for a long time, and that’s satisfying.”

The year started out in the hot August sun on an even hotter parking lot and ended in front of hundreds of family and friends, and they were able to bring home great memories as a result of their hard work and dedication.

Kross Torregrossa, tenor sax, was among the feature players during many of the ensemble pieces. He said things went well, for the most part.

“Everything I was in went flawlessly. I want to build my career off of music, so I’m passionate about expressing music to other people,” Torregrossa said, a third-generation musician who will play with his father and grandfather in New York this summer.

There were numerous high spots throughout the evening, including the first loud ovation when Torregrossa and his group of brass bandmates performed Stevie Wonder’s classic “Isn’t She Lovely.” Another was when the clarinet choir performed “Uma Thurman,” known to old-timers as the theme to the TV show “The Munsters.”

Alex Boyd, performance of “Liebestraum” on piano was flawless, as was the wind ensemble’s rendition of “Watchmen, Tell Us of the Night,” a haunting song about the consequences of child abuse.

Perhaps the performance that brought down the house was the Red Knight Jazz Band’s version of “Backrow Politics” which featured ad-libbed solos from Chris Brice on trumpet and guest performer Nate Mensink.

Mensink, who will soon receive a doctorate in saxophone performance, had a blast playing with the kids and vice-versa.

“We had one rehearsal yesterday, so they were very prepared and it was easy to put together,” Mensink said. “The way they put it together on such short notice and of that quality is tremendous.”

“It was amazing. It felt really good. I love jazz and playing in that setting, improvising, is just fun,” Brice said. “I’ve played jazz since I was 12 and I just learned more about theory and playing. Nate is amazing. Playing with him felt natural.”

Adriana Ferragut, a sophomore horn player who had her own solo, “Hunter’s Moon,” said the show represented the end to a great year.

“Considering all we’ve worked for, especially with Watchmen, since the middle of the year we’ve worked on that and progressed to this point where the music comes natural,” Ferragut said. “I see myself making a huge positive impact the next two years and that I leave here with an imprint on the band.”

For the seniors, it was their last time performing, which made the show even more special and maybe bittersweet for some. Just don’t tell Brice.

“Tonight was fun. I’m going to keep playing, so the bitterness is at a minimum and the sweetness is at a maximum,” Brice said.