By David Roman | Staff Writer
In the midst of summer music festivals like Coachella, Stagecoach, Bonnaroo and many others, there is one that no RCC student should miss.
The annual RCC Jazz Festival came to Riverside again on May 11.
Combining big band and small group jazz performances, the festival hosted jazz bands and orchestras from local high schools from around Southern California and even a few middle and elementary schools.
Starting early in the morning visitors had the option of watching schools play in any one of five different locations.
The Digital Library Auditorium saw performances from schools like Tesoro High in Las Flores or Peninsula High from Palos Verdes who each took home first place awards in their respective categories.
Further fostering new talent, out in the Bradshaw Center many novice school bands got their first chances at performing live in a competition setting.
Surprising everyone by tying for first place in Big Band Novice A were Oak Hills High School from Hesperia and El Camino High from Oceanside.
While Santiago High School from nearby Corona snagged the first place trophy in Big Band Novice B.
Continuing the mission of generating interest for high school bands and encouraging young musicians to continue with their craft, the visiting schools were invited to attend master classes held in the Board Room.
The classes included a combo/improve class in the morning and a drum set master class with RCC’s own Bob Dominguez later in the day.
And lastly a general master class with famous jazz trombone player Bob McChesney known for working with Steve Allen and co-producing his final CD and for developing the trombone playing technique known as doodle-tonguing.
The Landis Auditorium, however, was where the real action went down at Jazz Fest 2013.
Seeing performances that seemed to be far out of the proficiency of a normal high school band, schools like Mira Costa High School, Peninsula High School and Vista Murrieta High School all placed in Advanced School Big Band.
Following the high school performances, RCC’s famed Evening Jazz Ensemble lead by Charlie Richard and Kevin Mayse took the stage.
Performing songs like “Loose Ends” by Rick Lawn (one movement of a four movement jazz ballet called “Mirrors”) and “Cherokee” by Ray Noble, arranged by Matt Harris, proved why the Evening Jazz Ensemble is so highly regarded.
Joining the Evening Jazz Ensemble on stage was Bob McChesney who went out and proved why he is such a big deal within the Jazz world.
His energetic trombone performance brought life to the show making it one to remember.
However the biggest treat of the night was hearing “Groove Assai” composed by the Jazz Ensemble’s director and RCC faculty member Charlie Richard, showcasing his own gift as a composer.
If by next May you find yourself wanting to see great live music and you don’t want to spend a penny then stop by the RCC Jazz Fest, you won’t be disappointed.