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Lucky Chops jams with band students

Greenfield Middle School becomes first stop on band’s European tour

  • Lucky Chops, a band out of New York City, answers questions after playing a short set. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield Middle School student Averry Jacobs, right, plays his baritone sax with Lucky Chops, a band out of New York City, who stopped by the Greenfield Middle School Friday after hearing how popular they were with students in the band program. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Lucky Chops, a band out of New York City, stopped by the Greenfield Middle School after hearing how popular they were with students in the band program. They were to play at the Hawk and Reed Performance Center in Greenfield on Friday night. June 16, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Lucky Chops, a band out of New York City, stopped by the Greenfield Middle School after hearing how popular they were with students in the band program. They were to play at the Hawk and Reed Performance Center in Greenfield on Friday night. June 16, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Greenfield Middle School students in the band program play with Lucky Chops, a band out of New York City, who stopped by the Greenfield Middle School after hearing how popular they were with students in the band program. June 16, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Sunday, June 18, 2017

GREENFIELD — Three o’clock was fast approaching but the band room was still a-banging with music.

Middle-schoolers refrained from taking out cell phones to take selfies and instead just pleaded for old-school autographs from the band that had just jammed out on stage on the auditorium, hours before heading to the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center — formerly, the Arts Block — for an evening show.

Lucky Chops, a jam, brass band based out of New York City and preparing to leave for a show in Paris on Saturday to kick off their summer-long Europe tour, came to Greenfield Middle School to perform a free show for the students.

It all started with the band students latching onto the enthusiastic band that first started out together in high school just over a decade ago and went from performing on street corners to traveling through 26 countries in a year.

One student, seventh-grader Averry Jacobs, got his classmates and his music teacher Ariel Templeton — who ultimately was able to bring the band to the school — into the New York group’s music.

Jacobs, who plays several instruments but his favorite is the baritone saxophone, was browsing jazz music online.

“I saw this YouTube channel, and I thought this was the coolest thing ever,” Jacobs said about Lucky Chop’s YouTube channel. “I have to play these songs.”

Soon enough his classmates all wanted to play the songs and they became many of the students’ favorite band.

Then, Jacobs got an opportunity of a lifetime — the band invited him to come up and perform with them while they performed for the packed auditorium that was jumping out of their seats with music in their bones.

“When they first called me up there I was like, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Jacobs said. “I was so scared at first but I got into it ... and jammed with them.”

Jacobs got to do his own solos. Later on, dozens of students came onto the stage, but for his favorite song, “Coco,” it was just him and the band and the crowd chanting “Averry! Averry! Averry!”

Afterward, the band gave him a Lucky Chops T-shirt and he was indeed in awe.

“Averry is an amazing student and this is a dream come true for him,” Templeton said.

One student asked one of the players for his Miami Marlins T-shirt he was wearing, with cutoff sleeves. Eventually, the musician gave the middle schooler the shirt. Others settled for simple autographs on whatever they could find.

It was clear that these artists had become musical role models for many of the band students.

Templeton said they had written to the band asking them if they could come play at the school when they were here for their concert in Greenfield.

“I wrote them on the whim, hoping they would say yes,” Templeton said.

And when they found out they would come, and play for free: “We couldn’t believe it,” Templeton added. “I waited a little while to tell the kids. It was very hard to keep the secret.”

It was the first middle school that the Lucky Chops has played at, too, their bandmates said. The students immediately popped out of the auditorium seats and started dancing to the opening number. During a rendition of “Eye of the Tiger,” kids grooved in their seats. Afterward, they peppered the band with endless questions, having to be ended by the teachers needing them to get back to class as the school day neared its end.

“Right away, people were just screaming in the crowd,” band member Josh Holka said. “We encourage people to express themselves.”

His bandmate, Darro Behroozi, added: “It’s always really inspiring for us to experience that. Becoming a great musician a lot of it is like becoming a kid again.”

By the end of the school day, it was just a great moment for the band to find another way to inspire people to play jazz instruments and have fun while at it.

“It’s cool because you can connect with everybody in a different type of way,” Behroozi said. “You feel life going at a different pace and different priorities that people got going on but still were able to connect with them through music.”