At this point it feels like I’m collecting California high school visits for a checklist.
Once again my day has been spent journeying to watch my sister perform with the Redondo Union High School jazz band.
The destination? Dos Pueblos High School in Santa Barbara.
The event? The 50th annual “Jazz in Paradise” Jazz Festival.
Luckily hosted indoors, as it rained hard all morning on our way up north. None of those outdoor venues like the marching band competitions get.
While I appreciate any and all opportunities to break out my Master Sword umbrella (and boy has it gotten work this rainy season), I was more appreciative that we could hide instead.
Especially with such a nice auditorium to hide in:
The beige whites, wooden trim and striped-blue decor gave the Elings Performing Arts Center a nautical harbor vibe that felt like home, even though home was a good few hours away.
I was also a fan of the music, even if I can’t speak to why quite as well as I can for a visual aesthetic.
That’s frankly my biggest problem with these events. While I can’t say I’m the biggest jazz listener in the world, I typically enjoy what I get to hear at the competitions. I just don’t have near enough musical knowledge to be able to tell people why — and usually those who can will tell me how awful a band was despite my thinking they sounded as good as the rest.
The one thing I can point to is Santa Ynez, who really impressed me in particular by utilizing a violin in their set.
After a while, the performances across different events do start to sound similar, so shaking that up was nice.
Plus I’ve found that I’m actually a huge fan of taking more “classical” instruments like the violin and using them in unique, more modern settings. Been noticing that a lot more in different soundtracks I’ve listened to for games and such.
But beyond that, hopefully you aren’t here for deep diving musical analyses.
All I can really provide are these screenshots and videos to help you feel like you were there.
For instance, here’s Aly and RUHS’s Jazz Band A performing “Barnburner” by Les Hooper:
I know I say it a lot, but I am quite proud of how good she is at this stuff. So much so that she recently got accepted into a rather prestigious-sounding summer program in New York.
Then again, I also make fun of her falling off video games whenever I can, since I know she loves that a whole lot.
But recently I found a good game to get her into solo play with Kirby’s Adventure on the Nintendo Switch online NES game compilation. Thus I can’t really make fun of her.
… Though I will pester her about finishing Let’s Go Eevee with me again. Especially now that Sword and Shield are coming soon.
Oh- By the way, RUHS won first place in the advanced bands with their set.
As well as smaller awards for having the best saxophone and rhythm sections.
Then they won best overall band score, on top of one of their musicians winning best solo performance of the night.
AND Aly got an outstanding soloist certificate for the advanced division.
This event in particular also stood out because after the awards there was a concert featuring Wayne Bergeron — who has apparently worked on things like the soundtrack to Pixar’s The Incredibles.
That’s pretty cool!
Unfortunately my parents and I did not stick around for that part. We went hard from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the awards at about 6:30 p.m., plus the drive home after. So we were beat down.
Especially me after an unexpected nosebleed in the middle of the performances.
Wound up scrubbing my hands of spots like Lady Macbeth as people came in and out of the bathroom.
Never had that particular flavor of “unintentionally embarrassing myself in a public venue” before. It was fun.
Just like it was fun when my family and I went to Chili’s in the rain while waiting for the festival to start.
A fact that I only bring up so I can finally reference an ancient Vine in some attempt to appear relevant and hip with the kids.
Because that feels like the most appropriate way to end off a blog post all about Jazz.