By Sarah Wibell
Every year, the Chamber Music Festival brings talented, renowned musicians to Madison, but the artists performing this past weekend gave an additional performance for the Fine Arts students at Morgan County High School. The Huntertones, a jazz fusion group from Columbus, Ohio, now in Brooklyn, New York, gave three performances within 24 hours in Madison on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18. Band members Dan White (saxophones), Jon Lampley (trumpet/sousaphone), Chris Ott (trombone/beatbox), Adam DeAscentis (bass), John Hubbell (drums), Josh Hill (guitar), and Justin Stanton (keys/trumpet) have toured in more than 20 countries. Their high energy, horn-driven sound features genre bending compositions and unconventional covers. Their latest release, “Passport,” is a collection of songs inspired by their experiences sharing music with people from all over the world.
“We really appreciated the opportunity to play for and speak with students from MCHS,” Jon Lampley stated. “They had really great questions about what we do, and we always enjoy being able to give insight to students, especially music students. All of the members of Huntertones came through public school band programs, so when we can go back and inspire students in those programs, it feels like a ‘full circle’ type experience.”
MCHS Director of Bands Jeffrey Rowser commented, “The Morgan County Fine Arts students were in awe of the Huntertones. The group related to kids very well with great music and a tremendous question and answer interaction with the kids. The students asked (questions like) how they met, when do they practice, are their selections written out or ad lib, and many others. The students really benefited from learning how the musicians got their start and their intellectual interest was varied, but music brought them together. The students asked about the family life and travel and how they make family and life work. The Huntertones represented a true professional, casual jazz-rock style performance. Their classical training came through in every piece they performed as demonstrated in musical selections. Their persona of calm, and cool made the students comfortable to approach and interact with them for meet and greet time at the end of their masterclass outreach with us.”
After meeting with the students on Friday, the Huntertones performed a free concert in Town Park the same night and then played another free family concert Saturday morning at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.
“I figured the Huntertones touched about 1000 lives in the 22.5 hours here!” asserted Sally Tuell, interim Chamber Music Festival director. “Their final show Saturday had everyone on their feet dancing!”