Davis, Calif.—The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis, in conjunction with SFJAZZ, is proud to announce this year’s members of the Mondavi Center SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. The seven person ensemble includes music students from two area high schools with five returning members and two new members.
Returning ensemble members are pianist Joey Cozza, drummer Paul Slater, trumpeter Jeric Rocamora and alto sax player Emery Mesich all from Rio Americano High School in Sacramento. Also returning is guitarist Noah Wolfe from Davis Senior High School. New this year is tenor sax player Lucas Bere and bassist Emma Simpson both from Rio Americano High School.
The All-Stars will perform with the Captial Jazz Project on Tuesday, March 19 from 6:30–7:30 p.m. in the Mondavi Center’s Corin Courtyard preceding the 8 p.m. performance by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The ensemble will then perform on Saturday, March 30 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the new SFJAZZ Center with members of the San Francisco SFJAZZ High School All Stars and members of the SFJAZZ Collective sitting in.
“I’m really excited about the opening of the new SFJAZZ Center, and what it means for the whole jazz community, and so proud of our connections to the SFJAZZ organization,” said Jeremy Ganter, associate executive director and director of programming for the Mondavi Center. “The All-Stars have once again worked exceptionally hard to live up to their namesake. Capping off their year at the SFJAZZ Center should be a phenomenal experience.”
The All-Stars were selected by a panel of judges during a closed audition in the fall of 2012 at the Mondavi Center. Participants in the final audition were selected following open auditions in September of 2012.
Returning to lead the ensemble is Mike McMullen, founding member of the Sacramento region’s Capital Jazz Project and a jazz studies faculty member at California State University, Sacramento.
“The demands are great; the rewards are greater,” said McMullen. “This sums up the experience of working with the high performing students in the current All-Stars. Their basic goal is to present difficult but satisfying music. To each in this process comes inspiration, friendship, sacrifice and life lessons. To each comes artistic growth and challenge. Each crosses a boundary, and becomes part of a greater whole.”
McMullen says that having some returning members in the band changes the dynamic. “They are a year older, and have more experience and clarity in their expectations of themselves and the ensemble,” he said. “They are more confident, have taken on more challenging pieces, and now absorb the greater demands into very busy lives. They grow personally, artistically and the reward is there.”
In addition to performance opportunities at the Mondavi Center and the SFJAZZ Center, the ensemble will participate in clinics with professional jazz musicians. They have also received tickets to see the artists in the Mondavi Center’s 2012–13 Capital Public Radio Jackson Hall and Studio Jazz Series.
The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis, is one of Northern California’s premier arts destinations. The Mondavi Center presents nearly 100 performances each year by both professional and student artists in music, dance, theater, film and the spoken word. The Mondavi Center’s main performance space, 1,801-seat Jackson Hall, features next-generation theatrical equipment and superb acoustics that make it a favorite for the world’s greatest musicians and dance and theater companies. The center’s 200-seat Vanderhoef Studio Theatre provides high-tech space for rehearsals, film screenings and intimate musical experiences.
The new SFJAZZ’s Center opened on Monday, January 21, 2013 at 201 Franklin Street in San Francisco’s vibrant Hayes Valley. The SFJAZZ Center is a hub of art, music, culture and community in the Civic Center performing arts district. The SFJAZZ Center was designed by award-winning architect Mark Cavagnero, acoustician Sam Berkow, theater design consultant Len Auerbach and constructed by lead contractor Hathaway/Dinwiddie. The three-story Center comprises 35,000 square feet in a transparent structure featuring the state-of-the-art Robert N. Miner auditorium adjustable from 350 to 700 seats, the 80-seat multi-purpose Joe Henderson Lab, the all-day café, South at SFJAZZ, from Charles Phan of the Slanted Door, rehearsal spaces, digital learning lab, ground floor lobby, retail shop, box office and SFJAZZ administrative offices. The mission of SFJAZZ is to reach, develop and nurture current and future musicians and audiences by providing rich, innovative, interactive, and informative programming in jazz appreciation, creation, and performance.