Forrestdale band concertForrestdale School band director John Lebitsch conducts the Jazz Ensemble during the annual Winter Concert program in the school’s auditorium.

Press release from Rumson School District

The winter blues were kept at bay for one memorable night, as the Forrestdale School Winter Band Concert took place on the evening of January 14. Led by Forrestdale School Band Director John Lebitsch, the Advanced and Intermediate Bands and the Jazz Ensemble played to a packed house, and delighted the crowd.

The evening’s lineup featured Advanced Band performances of “Autumn Fanfare” (composed by Mekel Rogers) and “Train Heading West” (Timothy Broege). The Intermediate Band performed the Brian Balmages composition “Midnight Suite,” and the Combined Advanced and Intermediate Bands teamed up for a performance of the Tchaikovsky favorite “March from the Nutcracker.”

The Forrestdale Jazz Ensemble performed “Basin Street Blues” (Spencer Williams, Arr. Michael Sweeney), in addition to “Azure” (Duke Ellington and Irving Mills, Arr. Mike Lewis), then brought down the house with the Taylor Swift number “Shake It Off” (Swift/ Martin/ Shellback; Arr. John Berry.) The enthusiasm of the audience prompted the delivery of an encore performance by all of the musicians in a rousing finale of “Hooked on Holidays,” based on the classic “O Tannenbaum.”

“It is hard to believe that these are only middle school students; they hold themselves with the professionalism of a seasoned performance group,” said Forrestdale School Principal Jennifer Gibbons.

Next up for the Intermediate and Advanced Band members is a performance at the annual Forrestdale vs. Holy Cross Basketball Game, set for 6 p.m. on February 4 at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.

In addition, the Forrestdale School musicians will perform at R-FH during the annual Tri-District Music Festival, slated for 7 p.m. on February 17. Admission to this highly anticipated yearly event (featuringcombined ensembles from Forrestdale School, Knollwood School in Fair Haven, and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School) is free of charge.