Next weekend´s Big Band Jazz Festival marks the 17th year that Columbia College will host the popular musical program, consisting of daytime student clinics and evening band performances for the community.
According to event organizer and Columbia College music professor Rod Harris, more than 150 students from Northern California will participate in the activities Mar. 19-20. High school bands from Oakdale, Summerville, Sierra (Tollhouse), Sierra (Manteca), and Novato will be joined by Columbia College, Modesto Junior College and Sinaloa Middle School (Novato).
Clinics on Friday and Saturday will consist of student performances, followed by critiques by professional musicians. Master classes in advanced techniques will also be conducted by the instructors in specific instruments. “The students will benefit from being taught by some of the area´s top jazz players, and then see them perform professionally later than night,” said Harris.
In fact, workshop instructors will get a chance to “strut their stuff” during 8 p.m. performances on both Friday and Saturday in the college´s Dogwood Forum. The performers will be Marvin McFadden, Mic Gillette and Tim Price. Their big band jazz and vocal selections will include songs by Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini and Tower of Power.
McFadden has been playing lead trumpet with Huey Lewis and the News for more than 15 years. He is also “first call” for many Bay Area shows, among them James Brown and Ella Fitzgerald. Gillette is widely known as the lead trumpet player for Tower of Power and was recorded on all of their first ten albums. He is also a versatile low brass player and will be featured on trombone and tuba.
Composer Tim Price is a freelance musician on woodwinds and piano. He leads his own big band and has worked with many top groups, most notably James Moody and Gary Foster.
The three guest artists will be joined by the Columbia Kicks Band, which is made up of community musicians and music teachers from the surrounding area.
Reserved seating tickets for the Friday and Saturday evening performances are $15 each and are available in advance at the Mountain Bookshop, 532-6117 in Sonora. In addition, ticket purchases can be made at the college´s Manzanita Bookstore, 588-5126 where orders can also be placed by phone. Remaining seating will be available at the door. For concert information, call the College Jazz Office at 588-5211.