“We have a set that shows different types of jazz,” said the band’s director Renee Baker.
Indeed, the program featured many different genres of jazz, from swing and Latin to blues, and capped it off with some holiday music.
The program was also an opportunity to showcase local talent, Baker said. For instance, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was an opportunity for tenor saxophone player Mark Rasmussen to display his talent, and “Cute” was drummer Marty Holbrook’s opportunity to shine, Baker said.
Join the discussion and add your comments to this story! Scroll down or click here and tell us what you think.
And shine they all did. Conductor Derek Cannon kept the evening lively, sharing jokes and stories with the audience and band.
The night wasn’t just about music though. Although admission was free, attendees were asked to donate at least two cans of food to benefit the Imperial Valley Food Bank. It was hard to say how many cans of food were donated, but Margaret Rabb, assistant with the Valley Jazz program, estimated “at least three big trashcans worth of cans” had been placed in front of the Christmas tree in the lobby of Southwest’s Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theater.
“The community is really good about donating canned goods,” she said.
The night was also about giving aspiring students opportunities to further their studies and art.
“None of us would be here if it wasn’t for music education,” Cannon said, underscoring the importance of music education. To that end, saxophone player Skye Hymer was awarded $500 through the Jimmie Cannon Scholarship. The Hank Keltz scholarship was awarded to Imperial High School’s music program.
The evening was also about community support.
Imperial Valley College student Hector Arreola came to see his friend Abraham Hernandez play bass guitar with the group. Arreola, an El Centro resident, is also a musician. He plays punk rock with band.
Fellow El Centro resident Jim Rhodes said he and his wife make an effort to see the Christmas show every year. Although his wife couldn’t attend the show this year, he said, the good times could not be dampened.
“I’m just enjoying the show,” he said.
Staff Writer Antoine Abou-Diwan can be reached at 760-337-3454 or email@example.com
To comment on this story click here to be directed to Facebook.