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 An Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic High School Fully Accredited by WCEA and WASC  

Jazz Groups Hit High Note at Santa Cruz Festival

Torrance, CA (March 20, 2017):  Members of Bishop Montgomery’s music program traveled north over the weekend for camaraderie and competition in the Bay Area. Over 20 students, along with Music Director Eric Hankey and chaperones, spent the weekend amongst musicians competing at the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival while also sharing their talents and honing their craft.  

The students left Bishop on Thursday for the long bus ride to Santa Cruz to get their bearings before Friday’s competition. Upon arrival, the group grabbed dinner and settled in for the night at a local hotel. Friday morning, they headed to El Cabrillo Junior College in Santa Cruz to perform for festival judges.  First up was Bishop’s Jazz Combo, 11 students performing in groups of nine at a time, for a panel of judges. Afterwards, the musicians headed to a large auditorium where over 20 BMHS musicians took the stage for the Big Brand competition. The group performed a number of songs for the judges. Pianist Jared Drews ’19 thought “performing was pretty fun… especially on the big, cool stage.”

After the competition, the students attended various workshops and clinics which matched their musical interests. Drews, who has been playing piano since childhood and joined the BMHS Band last year, chose an improv workshop for help with playing solo, and also attended a piano workshop, which focused on advanced techniques including inversions and chords.  After the educational afternoon, the group headed to a restaurant on the junior college campus run by the school’s culinary arts program. Drews noted that the students enjoyed “a very nice, fancy dinner” where most of the meal featured eclectic dishes with farm to table ingredients.

Sunday was a day of exploring and adventure for the group as they headed towards San Francisco. Some of the students chose to tour the UC Berkeley campus with Mr. Hankey, while others ventured into Chinatown for dining and shopping.  Most of the group, though, headed right into the heart of the city to visit Pier 39 and Ghiradelli Square. In the evening, the students regrouped at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for an early dinner and then headed back to Southern California in time for school on Monday.

It proved to be a valuable trip, not only providing BMHS musicians with performance opportunities, but also with multiple awards for their efforts. The Jazz Combo and Big Band both saw success at the festival, scoring second and third-highest ratings, respectively. Jeremiah Deomano ‘17 (drums) and Kenneth Dixon ’18 (saxophone) also received individual Outstanding Musician medals for their performances in the festival.