Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Cerritos College community prepares for 60th Anniversary

September 15, 2015

With only two more practices left, the Cerritos College Jazz Ensemble practices their setlist. They practice every Wednesday night from 7 p.m to 9:30 p.m.
TM Sam Luevano
With only two more practices left, the Cerritos College Jazz Ensemble practices their setlist. They practice every Wednesday night from 7 p.m to 9:30 p.m.

This year of marks the 60th anniversary of the Cerritos Community College and in commemoration of this occasion, the Cerritos College Foundation is partnering with Public Affairs and ASCC to host an all-day event on campus.

The celebration will be held this Thursday, Sept. 16 at Faclon Square from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The afternoon will start off with an on campus BBQ from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. followed by an open house event from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Campus clubs will also be participating in the event to engage student participation

Along with these events, there will be a special guest performance by Cerritos College Alumni and Grammy-award winning Latin jazz artist Poncho Sanchez.

He will be performing with the Cerritos College Jazz Ensemble from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Miya Walker, director of Public Affairs, spoke of the intent of the event, “…we [Public Affairs] wanted to create a special event that would bring together students, alumni, staff and the community to highlight the college’s success over the last six decades.”

“The best part is, Poncho will be playing his music with students and staff from our jazz ensemble,” Walker added.

Sanchez attended Cerritos College from 1970-1971 and is really looking forward to attending the event.

“I was raised in Norwalk so there are fond memories, I saw them build the college when I was a kid… There’s some great memories and great teachers and a lot of friends,” Sanchez said.

According to Sanchez, he was just a young Chicano kid right out of high school when he first began his courses at Cerritos College after being referred by a friend.

“I’m looking forward to being there because it’s home, I’m going back home,” he added.

Dr. Betancourt, director of the jazz ensemble, had been contacted during the planning process of the celebration and had been asked for suggestions in which he recommended a performance by Poncho Sanchez.

“They wanted to do something big for the 60th anniversary and they contacted me as the music director and they wanted to add a music component to it… I thought ‘Well Poncho Sanchez. He’s a local guy who lives in Norwalk and he went to school here and he has all these awards, why not contact him,’” Betancourt said.

The jazz ensemble has been preparing for this performance by rehearsing for about three hours every Wednesday night for the past 4 weeks.

Although the jazz ensemble does not usually have performances this early in the semester, Dr. Betancourt feels very confident in their upcoming performance.

“It’s kind of like taking a math class and the thing you were supposed to cover in your ninth and tenth week, you now have to be able to do in your fourth week. They [the jazz ensemble] have done really well. They stepped up to the plate and they’re sounding good,” Betancourt added.

He feels that his group has been practicing intensively and that they will represent themselves and the college well.

Those students that are part of the jazz ensemble, such as music major and pianist Oscar Franco, feel honored for the opportunity to be able to perform at this event with a Grammy-award winning artist.

This semester is the second semester that Franco has been part of the Cerritos College Jazz Ensemble. Franco feels this experience has really helped develop his music fundamentals.

“I feel nervous about the event, but it is a privilege. Not everybody gets this type of opportunity and to me as a musician it’s a life experience to be able to play with these people,” Franco said.

Franco takes his role as a musician very seriously and believes that this upcoming performance will be another learning opportunity.

“That should be the mentality of every musician, to be students. It doesn’t matter the level that you are at, you are a student because as a musician you never stop learning.”

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About the Contributor
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Kristopher Carrasco, Online Editor
My name is Kristopher Carrasco I'm that guy that went to college and didn't really know what to do. I just kind of jumped around until I was suddenly failing out of school.
Then I found Talon Marks and little by little I started to understand what I wanted to do with my life and apparently it's journalism. The idea of gathering information from a variety of sources and re-telling it through visual or written story telling has engaged me in so much more than I ever thought possible. I love to work with Multimedia, but this year I have become Online Editor in hopes of learning a new skill set.
I hope to be a music journalist in the future, but in the mean time I'll be finishing my last semester up at Cerritos College in the spring of 2016.
I also love raccoons; like a lot.

 

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