World Class Harmonies on The Hill

The Jazz Band and String Orchestra welcomed American Piano Association finalist Caelan Cardello for a four day residency—a first for the school


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Caelan Cardello, who recently earned a Jazz Performance degree from William Paterson University, visited Cathedral to run a 3-day workshop.

Tickets for world class jazz residencies sell for hundreds of dollars around the world, but on Thursday, February 2, students had the opportunity to attend a jazz and string orchestra concert free of charge.

Caelan Cardello’s four day residency consisted of three days of rehearsals with the Jazz Band and String Orchestra which culminated in a concert in the auditorium during Alpha period. Each year, the American Pianist Association (APA) has either a classical or jazz competition, the five finalists have a residency with a school and participate in outreach throughout Indianapolis. This also includes performing at the renowned Jazz Kitchen.

“(Cardello) is a really accomplished musician. Anybody who wins the jazz prize from this competition basically has a career written for them,” director of the Jazz Band and String Orchestra Steve Goodman said. 

Originally, another school was set to host Cardello, but due to unforeseen circumstances, they had to back out. With only a couple of weeks to prepare, Goodman, along with the Jazz Band and String Orchestra, scrambled to put together the program. Goodman said, “We had six rehearsals (before January 30), and both groups have done a fantastic job of getting it together in such a very short period of time.”

Junior and violinist in the Jazz Band and String Orchestra Monica DeSanto explained, “We practiced one song every morning and focused on little details to perfect (the song) before (Cardello) arrived.” Goodman noted that Cardello was very impressed with their first rehearsal. 

Artistic Advisor for the APA Joel Harrison (pictured left) introduces Cardello before the concert begins.

The residency was also a great opportunity for the student musicians to learn from a world class musician. “I gave (Cardello) as much freedom as he wanted in terms of making comments and suggestions (about) jazz phrasing and articulation specific to the composition. Also, (rehearsing was) an opportunity to highlight some of the students,” Goodman explained.

DeSanto believes Cardello’s input was extremely valuable and helpful. For example, as the two groups rehearsed over the past few weeks, one song was played in a different tone. However, DeSanto said, “When (Cardello) started playing for (String) Orchestra, he set (the song) in a peaceful tone, but it made the piece come together so much better.”

The concert itself began with a brief introduction of the APA and Cardello by Artistic Advisor for the APA Joel Harrison. Cardello played solos, which captivated the audience, and he played separately with the Jazz Band and String Orchestra. He closed the event by taking questions from audience members. Freshman Avery Lewis attended the concert, and she said, “I thought the show was very good and impressive.”

Goodman is proud of his students and how they have risen to the occasion. “The students have really come through with flying colors,” he said. As for DeSanto, she said, “I (was) excited to have this opportunity for the (String) Orchestra and Jazz Band to excel in our musicianship and the way we carry out our music.”