Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

TM Digital Newsletter

TM TikTok

Cerritos College hosts a night of jazz

Victor Diaz/TM
Members of the Cerritos College, Jazz Ensemble performs at its exchange concert on Oct. 6. The Cerritos Music Department held the concert to encourage middle school students to continue playing music once they reach college.

Cerritos College hosted the Valley Christian Middle School Jazz Ensemble as part of an exchange concert with the Cerritos Jazz Ensemble in the Student Center.

Wednesday’s concert began with Valley Christian’s set, which included “Turn Up the Heat,” featuring a trombone solo from Eric Kooi, the band’s director, and “The Blues Walk,” with solos from trumpet player Eric Kurstner and alto saxophone player Joshua Lange.

The band’s set concluded with Sonny Henry’s “Evil Ways,” a tune that was made famous by Carlos Santana in 1969.

After the performance, Kooi said, “I thought the kids did a good job. They’ve only been playing for a month so I was really proud of them.

“I love the venue here. The people and the crowd were a lot of fun and that made it fun for the kids,” Kooi said.

Kooi also mentioned the importance of having his middle school students gain experience by playing on a college campus.

He said, “In music, you see kids go from high school and keep playing. What I like about Cerritos College is that it has a lot of adult education, and they see people who are 40 years old and are playing and that’s important because otherwise they think, ‘when school’s done, I’m done.'”

The night continued with the performance of the Cerritos Jazz Ensemble, which was led by vocalist Jose Maldonado.

The ensemble’s set began with Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca,” which featured solos by trombonist Daniel Lopez, alto sax player Michael Herrera, baritone sax player Steven McEvilly, tenor sax player Richard Starcher and trumpet player Alvaro Perez.

Maldonado assisted the band vocally with the pieces, “Come Fly With Me” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” which featured another solo by Herrera.

Andy Weiner’s “Cruisin’ for a Bluesin'” featured solos by Starcher and John Hanpadungvongs and a short feature by the saxophone section.

The night concluded with a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” which featured Herrera and Hanpadongvongs on saxophone and trumpet, respectively.

After the performance, Maldonado said, “I had a lot of fun. We worked hard for six or seven weeks, and it paid off.”

The Music Club was also on hand at the concert, providing drinks and snacks for the audience to benefit its scholarship fund.

Students like fashion design major, Blanca Ibarra, enjoyed the night’s performances.

“It was really good, especially the solos,” Ibarra said.

Criminal justice major, Saul Rodriguez, said, “I really liked it. I’ve liked jazz since I was in high school.”

After the performance, Director David Betancourt, who also played drums with the ensemble, addressed the band’s strengths and weaknesses during its set.

“Musically, they were together, they knew where they were in the pieces and it sounded like we had been rehearsing together, which to me, is one of the most important things for a band like this,” Betancourt said.

However, Betancourt mentioned the band’s weaknesses by saying, “We still need to clean up some of the (music) charts. It’s still early in the semester for us to get out here so we need to clean up a couple of things, but that’s a constant; it never stops.”    

Story continues below advertisement
About the Contributor
Victor Diaz, Editor in Chief
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Talon Marks Picks TM Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Cerritos College hosts a night of jazz