Jon Batiste and Stay Human entertain with jazzy medleys and originals


Mr. Joe Saylor, Mr. Ibanda Ruhumbika, and Mr. Jon Batiste perform for an audience of students. The performers, Julliard graduates, played music both on the stage and in the aisles of the auditorium.

Eli Lefcowitz, Contributing Writer

With frigid weather and midterms approaching, everyone at Schreiber could use a change of pace. On Jan. 8, Mr. Jon Batiste and his Stay Human band provided just that as they performed for an audience of students and taught a unique music workshop.

Mr. Batiste performed multiple upbeat, energetic songs that were labeled as jazz but could also pass as pop.  Along with music, Mr. Batiste and his band provided some humor and lessons that everyone could appreciate.

This performance has been a year in the making, ever since band teacher Mr. John Meyer and the symphonic band attended one of Stay Human’s rehearsals. Mr. Batiste and Stay Human finally got to perform at Schreiber thanks to a grant from the PWEF, help from the HEARTS association, and support from Director of Creative Arts Ms. Sherri Suzzan.

By bringing Mr. Batiste and Stay Human to Schreiber, Mr. Meyer hopes to “make an example of their great music and showmanship.” According to students and teachers who attended the concert, he succeeded.

The entire symphonic band, teachers, and students from various classes in session attended Mr. Batiste’s period 4-1 performance.

“The performance was engaging and comical,” said freshman Leonie Lerner.  “You didn’t need to love jazz to enjoy Mr. Batiste’s performance.”

“At first, I thought it would be a mundane performance, as I usually do not enjoy jazz, but by the end I was clapping my hands along with the beat.  It was a really fun performance,” said freshman Dylan Lebedin.

In addition, some admired Mr. Batiste’s blending of two genres.

“What was especially interesting about the performance was the way in which the styles of jazz and popular music were seamlessly united,” said freshman Dylan Langone.

Mr. Batiste also surprised many with his ability to make pop songs into powerful anthems.

“I never thought ‘Wrecking Ball’ could sound that good,” said science teacher Mr. Chris Dardzinski.

The band also covered New Orleans classic “House of the Rising Sun” and played an original song entitled “Express Yourself.”

Mr. Batiste and his band have been working on these skills for almost ten years, since he first met drummer Joseph Saylor.

“Jon and I have been playing together since 2004,” said Mr. Saylor.  “We started as a jazz trio and have morphed into several different band formations, the latest being Stay Human.  I was inspired to play with him originally because I loved to play super swinging jazz and so did he.”

Mr. Batiste hails from Louisiana and has a degree from the Julliard School in New York City.  He has collaborated with several artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Prince, Lenny Kravitz, and Harry Connick Jr.  He also serves as the the Associate Artistic Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Jon Batiste and the Stay Human band all worked hard in order to get where they are now, and they have advice for aspiring musicians.

“If you’re serious, be serious. And always remember the good feeling music gives you and why you play,” said Mr. Saylor.

Jon Batiste’s performance with Stay Human achieved drummer Joseph Saylor’s goal.

“I hope to bring a love and vibe that’s infectious and heals and uplifts everyone,” said Saylor.

In a time of academic anxiety, an uplifter is appreciated in Schreiber High School.