HKIS at 50 - SCMP Archive

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Hong Kong International School

[SCMP Archive] Jazzing up the campus

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 11:07am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 11:07am

[First published on Dec 02, 1996] Four outstanding musicians grooved on down to Hong Kong International School (HKIS) to coach the second Jazz Improvisation Workshop.

Michael Abene, Cameron Brown, Justin DiCioccio and Dick Oatts brought life, inspiration and fun to students and teachers from international schools all over the territory.

We had classes like Jazz Theory, Master Classes and Ear Training, and played music during our Combo and Big Band rehearsals all led by the four musicians.

There were also "jam sessions", where the musicians kept the beat going with their instruments while we improvised solos one by one.

The four musicians shared their experience and passion for music with us.

Mr DiCioccio was full of energy and taught us enthusiastically as he danced and sang.

"Jazz, along with other types of music, isn't about mathematics. It's about the grove; it's about a feeling deep inside and letting that feeling out," he said.

Mr Oatts was quieter. He encouraged us to keep trying when we could not play right.

He had a way of drawing upon the hidden courage in us, helping us communicate through our music.

The workshop ended on a high note with a concert in our school auditorium. We were delighted to have our four teachers perform for us after the concert.

We were amazed at how their bodies and instruments expressed the music.

When Mr Oatts threw his body back and wailed out a note on his saxophone, it had a magical effect on everybody. There was pindrop silence. Mr Brown and Mr DiCioccio kept the rhythm going on their bass and drums with grins on their faces, while Mr Abene's fingers flew on the piano.

It was an honour to have the musicians come to Hong Kong. We will never forget their passion for music and life. It will remain strong as we play music and walk with our own rhythm.