West Ranch High School officials are holding a musical event on Saturday featuring jazz bands from across the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas, school officials announced Wednesday.
Active professional musicians and notable jazz educators will be present to evaluate student jazz ensembles from the William S. Hart Union School District and other schools across Southern California, according to a West Ranch news release.
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“It’s a great opportunity for students to perform the music they’ve been working on all semester and get great feedback and comments from respected educators who are professionals in the music education field,” said Brian Leff, director of Jazz Studies at West Ranch. “When they listen to that, they get a lot of things to work on, as well as get to listen to professional performances from our guest artists… There’s lots of opportunities to watch and learn.”
The annual festival includes a full day of performances by junior high and high school jazz bands and culminates with a special guest performance by Dan Fornero and an awards ceremony.
Awards for first through third place will be given to students in each division, as well as the Most Outstanding Soloist Award with an accompanying scholarship to the Brubeck Institute Jazz Camp held at the University of the Pacific in June, officials said.
Fornero, who is considered one of Los Angeles’ top trumpet players for studio recordings and currently plays lead trumpet in several bands, is scheduled to appear with the West Ranch Studio A Jazz Band, as well as conduct educational clinics for students throughout the day.
The Hart District Jazz All-Stars, a group comprised of jazz students from around the district, will perform under the direction of UCLA Jazz Orchestra Director Charley Harrison.
The festival’s finale is an evening guest performance featuring Russ Ferrante, the founding keyboard member of the Grammy winning Yellowjackets, and Scott Jeppesen, a local saxaphone player.
“It’s a fun event because it’s packed to the brim with jazz performances,” Leff said. “We have two venues running all day… There’s over 40 performances, so if someone likes jazz, it’s a nonstop event with lots of groups to see.”
Super Jazz at the Ranch was created by music educator Bob Babko to bring professional and student musicians together. Babko is also the creator of the Super Jazz music festival, which provides jazz students with opportunities to perform and learn, officials said.
Proceeds from the event go toward the jazz program at West Ranch. All day general admission to the event is $10, with admission for students and seniors priced at $7. Food will also be available for sale at the event.
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