Jazz band Valencia High draw crowds to fundraiser

The goal of any jazz musician is to perform to a full house, and the goal of any venue owner is to have a full house.

This symbiotic relationship seemed to work for both parties at Valencia High School’s “Jazz Night” fundraiser on Sunday night.

The event took place at Pocock Brewery in Valencia and the brewery’s owner and namesake, Jeff Pocock, said strong community ties and a desire to have live music was what made the event possible. to take place.

“We’re happy to not only do…anything, educationally, but music in particular,” Pocock said. “[It’s] just something that’s not really always appreciated that much.

Valencia High School Jazz Band manager Kilan Thorns performs a song playing trombone during the Jazz Night on May Day event at PoCock Brewing Company in Valencia, Calif. on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Chris Torres/The signal

Harry Christiansen, the band’s vibraphone player, said they had great opportunities to play at festivals but needed a way to pay for them, so the band organized this fundraiser of funds. He said that although they are more used to playing bigger shows, having a more intimate atmosphere with the audience is a nice change of pace.

“We’ve never done anything like a restaurant or anything, so I’m kind of surprised it’s more about, like, a laid-back atmosphere,” Christiansen said. “But it’s good, it seems like a lot of people support the band and I really appreciate that.”

Christiansen said most of the songs played that night were what are called “standards”, which are songs so well known and played that they are almost synonymous with the genre.

“That’s most of the ones we’ve learned…and we’ve learned most of the standards, because sometimes it’s the easiest and sometimes the most fun,” Christiansen said.

Xylophone player Harry Christensen of the Valencia High School Jazz Band performs a song during the Jazz Night on May Day event at PoCock Brewing Company in Valencia, Calif. on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal

Kelvin Flores, instrumental music teacher and director of the jazz band, said seeing his students apply what he taught them is always a joy to listen to.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to see them apply what they’ve learned and apply it to a real environment here like Pocock Brewery,” Flores said. “And just to kind of see them take what they’ve learned, and just be able to turn it around and do it on the spot, improvise, and that’s just, that makes me so proud as an educator.”

Flores added that the money raised will not only provide more opportunities to perform at festivals, but will also provide new instruments, repairs, sheet music and anything that could improve the program.

As for Pocock, not only was the free entertainment for the night enjoyable, but he also enjoyed the music.

“It drew a great crowd. They, the students, they all sound very good. The musicians are fantastic,” Pocock said. “It’s a good change of pace. It’s not something you always have, jazz. So it’s really nice to be able to hear that in the background while working.

Trumpeter Owen Duncan of the Valencia High School Jazz Band performs a song during the Jazz Night on May Day event at PoCock Brewing Company in Valencia, Calif. on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Chris Torres/The Signal


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Henry R. Wright