Carmel High School freshmen to perform at Indy Opera Ball

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From left, The Low Keys Combo: Oscar Cronin, trombone; Griffin McConnell, tenor saxophone; Andrew Schallwig, keyboard, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Will Rice, bass, Noah Steiner, drums and Sam Grocki, baritone saxophone. (Submitted photo)

From left, The Low Keys Combo: Oscar Cronin, trombone; Griffin McConnell, tenor saxophone; Andrew Schallwig, keyboard, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Will Rice, bass, Noah Steiner, drums and Sam Grocki, baritone saxophone. (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

For six Carmel High School freshmen, this will be one very special jazz session.

The Low Keys Jazz Combo will entertain Indianapolis Opera Ball guests Oct. 29 during the cocktail reception in the grand lobby of Clowes Memorial Hall. The 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception will be held before the annual dinner dance benefit for the organization.

“This will be very big for us,” trombone player Oscar Cronin said. “We hope this will get our name out there and get more people to notice us.”

Cronin and pianist Andrew Schallwig helped form the combo. The group started early this year when all six were Carmel Middle School eighth graders. It started as a quintet before a sixth member was recently added.

“We decided we wanted to form our own group and play our own music,” Schallwig said. “We’re all good friends, and that helps how we function.”

Schallwig and Cronin are members of the CHS concert band and hope to make one of the high school jazz bands.

“We have a decent sized set list, and we try to vary the different genres of music — Latin, bebop and swing, to name a few,” said Cronin, whose group played at Carmel’s PorchFest last month.

Cronin said he began liking jazz because of the influence of the middle school band director, Chris Drabyn.

“Before that I didn’t understand or care for it, but now it’s become a very important part of my life,” Cronin said.

Schallwig said his grandfather introduced him to Dave Brubeck’s “Jazz Goes to College”  album.

“He always played that for me when I was little, and my dad always had jazz music on,” Schallwig said.

However, Schallwig didn’t take to it immediately.

“As I got into fourth or fifth grade, my dad started playing jazz more and I started getting into Brubeck with more intensity,” Schallwig said. “I developed a love of it.”

Metropolitan Opera star Angela Brown will serve as the Opera Ball host. The Cool City Band will perform starting at 9 p.m. Patricia LaCrosse will be named the 2016 Taurel Woman of the Arts recipient.

For more, visit indyopera.org.


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