Jazzy opportunities


Celeste Lira

On March 22 and March 23, the Downey High jazz band participated in the jazz festival at Fullerton College to compete against 35 schools with the program. Downey’s intermediate band won second place and advanced jazz won third place.

Vivian Buenrostro, Co-Editor-in-Cheif

Schools across California participated in the 41st Annual Fullerton College Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 23, where Downey was fortunate enough to be invited to compete against other schools’ in their division. Over the years, this festival has grown to be one of the most respected jazz festivals in California. Fullerton College has one of the largest music departments with 8,500 students enrolled.


The competition began at 8 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m. Ten hours, thirty-five schools, three judges- all interacted with each other to create memories were surrounded by the universal love for music. Downey’s Jazz II performed at 10:30 a.m. with the high tempo song “Under the Wire” followed by a blues inspired ballad, “Bayou Farewell” with a featured trumpet solo by junior Gabriel De Vicente. The group closed their performance with “Michael”, a tribute to the King of Pop himself.


“My goal before our performance was to do my very best,” freshmen tenor sax player Carlos Olivera said, “and I feel that I’ve accomplished that goal.”


The Jazz I band opened up with the challenging rhythmic tune, Moment’s Notice followed by Mysterious Stranger. Modernized ballad, Bloom by Radiohead, kept the audience intrigued for the entire seven minutes. Their final song, Un Calor Seco, had a Latin vibe to it.


The scoring of different schools would not be announced until every school had been judged. Clinics and workshops were offered for different instruments throughout the day. With all of these opportunities to try out, time was of the essence for most musicians.


“Today is an opportunity to listen to great music,” tenor sax player Diego Lucas from Warren said. “I’m just really excited to be here.”


Fullerton’s top jazz group, Bruce BaBad’s Big Band, accompanied by trumpet player and vocalists Mark Pender ended the night with their vivacious performance. Babad introduced Pender as the famous trumpeter on the talk show Conan O’Brien. Pender brought life to the theater with screaming high notes on his trumpet and his blues styled singing. BaBad’s Big Band improvised most of their performance with Pender due to the fact that they had no previous rehearsals. By the end of his last song, Pender had ripped off his coat, broke a sweat, and was rewarded with a standing ovation.


“I love walking off stage knowing that the audience will never forget my performance,” Pender said. “I want them to enjoy themselves as much as I do.”


Downey’s Jazz I took home fifth place and Jazz II took second. The experience at Fullerton’s festival was an opportunity for all jazz groups to learn from their mistakes and excel in future competitions.