Teachers and musicians jazz up Olshan Lobby

Talia Winiarsky, Staff Writer

Though many students know English teachers Rebecca Bahr and Harry Bauld for their pas-
sion for literature and poetry, they saw the duo’s musical connection come to life in their performance on Thursday. During F period, Olshan Lobby swelled with the warm vibrato of Bahr’s
voice and Bauld’s flowing notes on the piano as they played 11 jazz pieces and ballads together.

Their program featured a range of classic jazz pieces, including George Gershwin’s “Summer-
time,” Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train,” Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” Billie Holiday’s “God
Bless the Child,” along with six others, and the ballad “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

To perform as a duet, the pair made slight adjustments to the pieces, Bahr said. For exam-
ple, often when performers play together, they “trade fours,” which means that one player plays
four bars solo, and then another player will play four bars solo. The solos enable the players to
change up the tempo when the songs are long and slow to engage the listener.

Additionally, part of playing great jazz in a group is listening and reacting to the other
players, Sofia Del Gatto (12), a member of the school’s jazz band, said. “Especially Mr. Bauld,
really, you can tell he was looking at Ms. Bahr [to] see where she was taking the song.”

While Bahr said that the pair rehearsed the songs beforehand, it is essential to listen to each other as they play in case they diverge.

The pair can adjust pieces and adapt quickly to changes because they are familiar with the other’s styles, as they’ve known each other as musicians since Bauld came to the school in
2008, Bahr said.

“Sometimes he’s been playing something [on the piano] as I’ve literally been
leaving school and I’ll just stop and we’ll play ‘Summertime’ together just spontaneously.”

During the performance, Bahr’s constant smile as she sang and Bauld’s sways to the
rhythm of the music as his fingers jumped across the piano showed the audience that they enjoy playing together.

“We always have this common music of language and this pleasure and each other’s skills as musicians,” Bahr said.

Music helps Del Gatto understand her teachers better, and has spoken with Bahr about jazz,
she said. “It’s not just like, you know, learning what they’re teaching you but like having more
like horizontal conversation about something outside of school.”

The performance gave Matthew Baumann (10) the opportunity to listen to live jazz for the first time, he said. He was glad that his art history class visited because he may not have attend-
ed the performance otherwise. Although he doesn’t usually listen to jazz, the performance helped him realize that he enjoys the style because of its relaxing qualities.