Another Successful MHS Dessert and Jazz


Chris Cullen

A soulful saxophone quartet

On Saturday, February 6th, the Madison Music and Arts Association held its annual fundraiser, Dessert and Jazz. The yearly signature event is highly anticipated by many Madison families, as the performances are of excellent musical quality and the homemade baked goods are always delicious. The event was completely sold out at the time of the performance. This year’s fundraiser featured some of MHS’s most talented students; many old faces, including Morgan Sanchez, Matt Haughey, and Andy Jung, as well as some new, including Clara Smith, Elizabeth Monkemeier, and Aileen Bergin. The night was hosted by sophomore Billy Hughes, who emceed with with a quirky yet lovable wit that the audience was slightly confused by (true geniuses are never quite understood).


Before the performers came onstage, MHS student servers dressed smartly in black and white rushed around the cafeteria to serve the audience with cake, pastries, and coffee to enjoy during the performance. The stage was permeated with a dreamy cobalt blue light, reminiscent of a real jazz club.


The night was kicked off with Clara Smith’s soulful rendition of “At Last,” originally sung by Etta James. Though Clara is only a freshman, her voice carries a power and emotion that is rarely heard in even trained vocalists. After a great start to the event, Dessert and Jazz veteran and school musical lead Morgan Sanchez took the stage with her ukulele, performing “Feeling Good.” After Morgan came a performance that many would agree was a wonderful highlight of the night. Max Vigotov sang and tap danced Chet Baker’s “Route 66,” backed by Austin Habib on percussion and Miles Bird on bass guitar. Max’s flying feet were stared at in awe and wonder by everyone present. Dancers in the room gazed jealously at his skillful moves while audience members admired them. Amazingly, Max’s voice did not falter after dancing, and his rich tone carried through the room to complement his tapping perfectly.


Though Max, Austin, and Miles were certainly impressive, Elizabeth Monkemeier had no difficulty following them up. She sang the classic tune “Dream a Little Dream of Me” with a resonant, warm voice that rang with clarity, making everyone in the audience listen with rapt attention. Though she was nervous before her performance, she had no reason to be; her calm and confident stage presence was felt by all.


The next performance was a unique saxophone quartet consisting of Jordan Marino on tenor, Noah French on soprano, Spencer Moore on baritone, and Jackie DiPierro on alto saxophone. The group played “South” by Bennie Moten. Each member showed off his or her saxophone dexterity with riffs and runs, harmonizing and accompanying each other with great skill. Noah, MHS’s most prized saxophonist, was on the top of his game and delivered his part with the utmost vibrancy and eloquence. It was perhaps the true embodiment of Dessert and Jazz. Following the quartet was Aileen Bergin, accompanied by Ashley Brill on keyboard, who performed “Somebody to Watch Over Me” by George Gershwin. The duo’s tasteful performance left the audience wanting to hear more.


Up next was the Drakes, consisting of Brian Culligan on upright bass, Andy Jung on guitar and vocals, and Whitney Xu on keyboard and vocals. The group performed Belle and Sebastian’s “The Fox in the Snow,” a beautiful, mellow song that deviated slightly from the more typical jazz songs of the night. Andy’s poignant and angelic voice swept over the listeners and transported them to a different world, while the warm and rich tone of Brian’s bass added a layer of depth to the performance. Kathryn and Kristin McManus followed the Drakes and sang “Lennon and McCartney” by Carabine and Walther, accompanied by Michael Gribble on keyboard. The sisters’ sonorous voices balanced each other perfectly, and the image of the siblings brought a smile to many audience members.


The night ended with a moving performance from Matt Haughey. He began with a sentimental speech about his love of music and the significance it held in his life. “I know that I will carry music with me wherever I go,” he stated, and began his performance of “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan. The high notes were hit with grace and tenderness, and the simple piano accompaniment rounded out the piece beautifully.
Dessert and Jazz was a great success. As the audience departed after a wonderful night of music, the performers congratulated each other on a job well done and enjoyed the fragrant grapes laid out on their table. They trickled out of the building slowly, still thinking of the beautiful music they had just enjoyed.