The Alumni and Friends Jazz Ensemble closes the 11th annual Plumas Jazz Night with a stellar performance of five tunes, including an original composition by Greenville music teacher Jim Norman.Photos by Laura Beaton
Feet tapped, heads bobbed and fingers snapped in time to the music performed April 22 at the 11th annual Plumas Jazz Night in Quincy.
The event, held at the Town Hall Theatre, was a collaborative effort between Quincy, Greenville and Chester high school jazz bands and the Chester jazz choir, which led off the night’s entertainment.
Chester’s two groups were directed by music teacher Jane Brown. The choir performed “Blue Skies,” “Come Go With Me,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “My Lord.”
The Greenville High School jazz band took the stage next under music teacher Jim Norman’s direction. They played “Peter Gunn,” “Birdland,” “Minnie the Moocher” — featuring audience favorite Jared Vital on vocals — and “Groove Bug.”
The Chester jazz band, the largest of the schools’ bands with 19 musicians, then played “Watermelon Man,” “Song for My Daughter” and “Perdido.”
Quincy’s jazz band completed the high school performance part of the evening. Tanner Johns directed and also played on “Soul Man,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Brouhaha” and “Frankenstein.”
Johns invited Norman and school board member Bret Cook to play trombone on “Sweet Home Chicago.”
Each jazz band featured soloists whose performances embodied the enthusiasm and skill of the student musicians.
Organizer Tanner Johns said the event is one of his favorite nights of the whole year.
He said that, unlike in competitive events, students can just sit down and enjoy what the others have to offer. He appreciates that students root for each other and cheer the loudest for great performances.
The last group of the night was the Alumni and Friends Jazz Ensemble in its debut performance.
Earlier, Johns had rounded up the musicians; selected and distributed the music; and organized one short practice the day before the performance.
The alumni ensemble belted out five power-packed tunes that rocked the house. Featured soloists included Garrett Hagwood and Jane Brown on tenor sax, Michael Porter on trumpet, Johns on alto sax, Jim Norman on drums, Nathan Retallack on guitar and Marsha Roby on keyboards.
The group performed an original composition by Jim Norman called “Oscar’s Blues,” inspired by the way his cat hops around.
Johns said he appreciates that the students had the chance to experience listening to such a talented group of musicians. Though many of the alumni are past or present music teachers, many are not, proving that you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy and play music.
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