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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
A group of Sherwood High School jazz musicians, with the help of instrumental music teacher Alex Silverbook, made a little virtual magic while they have extra time on their hands during the COVID-19 quarantine.
The quarantine, at first ordered by the governor for two weeks and then extended until April 24, canceled the final weekend of the school’s popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival performances, leaving the cast and crew disappointed.
“We were all bummed out about Rock ‘n’ Roll,” junior Jeffrey Gross said. “Although we understood why because of the pandemic, but so much time and effort goes into it.”
Silverbook said he started hearing from some of his students about how they missed being at school and seeing friends and that they are bored and have too much free time on their hands.
“With all the stress of what’s going on in the world, I started thinking about how we could bring some normalcy back into our lives,” he said. “I started thinking that maybe there’s a way I could engage the students by making music with them virtually.”
Gross said that “Book” — Silverbook — floated the idea of creating a video to some of the band members.
“We all play together in Rock ‘n’ Roll and in Jazz Band, so we have an existing connection,” he said. “We were all down to do it. We were itching to play music with other people.”
Once they chose the song — “Mr. Magic” by Grover Washington Jr. — they started brainstorming about ways to put it together – virtually.
They got some advice from a musician friend of Silverbook and got to work.
He said it became quite a process, and it took about four days to record and edit.
Silverbook credited Gross for “working his magic,” with the help of his father, Dan Gross, who had the necessary editing software.
“Jeffrey spent a lot of time editing the video and really brought what we recorded to life,” Silverbook said.
Gross said, “Everyone did a great job and I know I am very proud of how it turned out.”
Silverbook said the composition is called “Quarantine Magic.”
The video includes performances by Silverbook, tenor saxophone; Rohan Mittu, alto saxophone; Rachel Ng, trumpet; Russel Cundick, trombone; Jean Kim; violin; Seth Kauffman; keyboard; Nathan Nguyendinh, bass; Max Ransibrahmanakul; guitar; and Jeffrey Gross, drums, editing and producer.
“It is a stressful and uncertain time for all, but they are using music to spread positive energy,” Silverbook said. “I’m super proud of them.”
Silverbook sent out the video to the Sherwood faculty, and it has since gained significant attention though social media. In just a few days, the video was viewed more than 2,300 times.
“Even in these hard times, the students continue to amaze me,” Silverbook said.
He added, “We demonstrated that this virus is not going to stop us from collaborating, making music and putting forth positive energy into the world.”
To watch “Quarantine Magic,” go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84ahYQydv5M&fbclid=IwAR1OM9TFlzBWN6_ZziGSZT9UpOQhkrDPDa6AR-45OOJuAmWaVvyIlC25kgs
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