At the Temple Performing Arts Center, a student on one side of a black leather sofa bobs his head up and down to the upbeat sounds of a jazz band. Later, another student sways from side to side as the band plays a softer, more mellow tune.
This is the first of a weekly Jazz Café series that will run through September on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Students, faculty and the community can relax while listening to the band, made up of Boyer students.
The ensemble consisted of saxophonist Joshua Lee, drummer Ben Singer, bass player Drew Gaunce and guitarist Sean Markey—all upperclassmen.
Brad Fort, the director of bands at William Penn Charter School and a 2002 Boyer alumnus, said he was walking by TPAC, heard the music and decided to stop in.
“When I was in school, we didn’t have this facility,” Fort said. “We performed in Tomlinson Theater—that’s where we had everything. It’s a phenomenal program.”
Fort added that he enjoys the Café is open to the public because he believes it will give high school and middle school students an opportunity to hear the level they could reach.
Henry Turf, a student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and a Philadelphia resident, agreed.
“I think it’s great that the community can be more involved because it will give people outside of the school a chance to see what happens in the school,” Turf said. “Especially with how [Philadelphia] is trying to cut arts out of public schools.”
The Café is the brainchild of Boyer’s Assistant Dean of Administrative Affairs David Brown said Linda Fiore, Boyer’s director of marketing and communications.
“The turnout is great,” Brown said. “It looks like we have about 50 to 60 people here. We wanted to just bring people in here and we have our posters up so everyone can know what we’re doing.”
The band played more than 10 songs, and the members each got the chance to show off their individual talents by giving solos at different points during the performance.
The band members said they got involved because Professor Terell Stafford, the director of jazz studies, asked them to kick-off the series, and they jumped at the opportunity.
The audience can expect to see a different set of groups every week, from students to professors, Lee said, and they can look out for future events hosted by Boyer students.
“We have the Jazz Café, we’re going to have a Mosaic concert in October, holiday concerts in December, film screenings and more,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a really busy place. We just want to get as many people come in as we can and enjoy the music.”
Ashley Caldwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video shot by Jenny Choi and David Petrozziello and edited by Sean Brown.