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College band earning way to jazz festival

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The 17-member Jazz Ensemble of College of the Canyons has launched a campaign to finance a trip to the Reno Jazz Festival in April.

The big band is aiming at repeating its performance in 2007 when it took first place in its division. Band members are fired up for the competition as they will be performing in honor of their former band director Dirk Fischer who died last spring.

Music Director KC Manji says the ensemble needs to raise $4,500 to cover transportation costs to Reno. Band members are selling raffle tickets now until the March 21 concert, when winners will be drawn.

"We have gathered some very unique prizes with the grand prize of having the band perform at a party held anywhere in the Santa Clarita Valley," Manji said. "We'll play at a church event, wedding, anniversary, barbecue or birthday party. It's up to the winner."

The Jazz Ensemble will travel by bus to the festival because it is more economical than flying to Reno and renting a bus for transportation during the stay, Manji said.

Fundraising is necessary to attend the competition because concert ticket sales go to the college's general fund, Manji added. Each student is responsible for their own meals, hotel room and tickets to the festival.

The Jazz Ensemble is comprised of College of the Canyons students, and will compete in the Community College category. The full big band has five saxophones, four trumpets, four trombones, piano, bass and drums. Students come from many walks of life. They are transfer students, retired persons and those seeking retraining. Most live in the local communities surrounding the college others come from the San Fernando Valley.

A competition like this is a tremendous opportunity for ensemble students, Manji said, because it is the largest jazz festival this side of the Rockies. In addition, students will be adjudicated by world-renowned musicians and will be working in individual sessions with professional artists.

This is the 50th anniversary of the Reno Jazz Festival, which is hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno. Bands come from as far away as Idaho, California, Oregon and Washington state to compete. The festival includes middle schools, high schools, four-year colleges as well as two-year colleges. Bands are judged by world-renowned adjudicators and clinicians. All participants are adjudicated and provided individual clinics after their performance. There is an awards ceremony on the last evening of the festival.

For more information on the next concert Dec. 6 or to become a sponsor, buy raffle tickets or make a donation to the Reno Jazz Festival trip, contact Manji at kc.manji@canyons.edu or (661) 362-5913.

Latest Activity: Nov 12, 2013 at 10:32 AM

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