Hefty Jazz & Classical Recital

Kathryn belts out a jazz ballad (at another event) while Hawkins plays bass

By Marcia E. Gawecki

For one fun-filled evening, audience members were treated to a hefty dose of jazz and then classical music. Monday, May 10, was the senior recitals for Kathryn, a jazz vocalist, and Rich, a classical pianist, in Stephens Recital Hall at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Kathryn’s roster of 10 songs included jazz standards, classical rock and some blues.

Dressed in a slinky over-the-shoulder short, black dress and a red flower in her hair, Kathryn looked like the ultimate showman. But looks were disceiving.

“She was really nervous before the recital,” said Marshall Hawkins, head of the Jazz Department at Idyllwild Arts. “But I wouldn’t hear none of it. I knew she was going to be fine.”

Kathryn’s first song was “Stepping Out” by Irving Berlin. She sang a duet with Everett, a classical vocals major. ¬†They had fun and chemistry onstage, and the loud applause afterwards gave Schmidt the confidence that kept building until her last song.

For her next tune, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” by Cole Porter , Kathryn was by herself onstage. Just a guitar and microphone.

“I like doing acustical work,” Kathryn had said earlier in the day. “Sometimes, it’s just nice being out there by yourself.”

When she started “Use Somebody,” a popular rock song by Kings of Leon, Won Bin, shouted out, “I love this song!”

Kathryn played it slower than the popular version, but with just her guitar, and for the first time, we understood all of the lyrics.

By her fourth song, “Maybe,” Kathryn brought on her fellow jazz mates, including Hallie on vocals and piano; Mint on electric guitar; Alejandro on bass guitar and Nate on drums.

“‘Private Lawns,’ by independent artists A & J Stone, is one of my favorites,” Kathryn said as an introduction. And by the time she was done, it was one of ours too. She introduced two musical soloists, Jacob on flute and Caleb on trumpet.

“I just blew in from Chicago, where they have private lawns and public parks,” were the jazzy lyrics.

Grant Park, one of Chicago’s more famous public parks, features a free, four-day jazz concert each Labor Day Weekend. Residents pile in from the neighborhoods and suburbs all dying to hear the jazz greats. Some famous performers include Miles Davis, Benny Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Anthony Broxton, Lionel Hampton, ¬†Betty Carter and Jimmy Dawkins, among others.

For her next song, Kathryn switched to rock n’ roll with the Rolling Stones’ classic, “Wild Horses.” You have to give her credit for taking on such a popular song for the Baby Boomer generation. At first when I heard the lyrics, all I could hear was Mick Jagger’s low voice, and Keith Richards’ electric guitar. But then I settled in and accepted Schmidt’s soprano voice and standard guitar.

For the next few songs, Kathryn went out of sequence from the playbill. For “Oreo Cookie Blues,” she sang a duet with Mint and her electric guitar. It was a fun, little song that made the favorite cream-filled sandwich cookie a bit sexy.

“I’ve got the chocolate cream-filled cookie blues,” Kathryn wailed. “It gets me higher than I get on booze. I couldn’t quit if I wanted to!”

(from L) Jacob on sax and Caleb on trumpet got some solo time at Kathryn's gig

The next tune, “Lift Me Up,” Kathryn said it was a Christine Aguilera song that she sang at a “Hope for Haiti” benefit. She played it with Hallie, and it was a slow, love ballad. “Just get me through the night,” she pleaded to an unseen lover.

For “Orange Colored Sky,” Kathryn brought on the entire jazz band, including Mint on electric guitar; Alejandro on bass; Nate on drums; Jacob on alto sax; Anthony on tenor sax, Hallie on piano and Caleb on trumpet.

With that many jazzmen on stage, one would think that they’d easily drown Schmidt out, but she held her own.

“I talked to them (the musicians) about it,” Hawkins said after the show. “You never want to drown out your singer.”

For her final number, Schmidt sang Aretha Franklin’s anthem, “Respect,” and brought the house down. She added backup vocalists Amenta and Allison, who “wooped” and danced and made everything fun. The interesting part is that Amenta is a theater major and Allison is a visual artist. Who knew that they could sing?

“It wasn’t happening for me at rehearsal,” Anthony confessed later. “But when Amenta and Allison showed up during the show, they really brought a lot of energy that we played into.”

By this time, Kathryn was in her groove. She grabbed the microphone from the stand and started walking around, and “talked” to the drummer Nate with her “doo, doo, doo’s.” She looked like the ultimate jazz showman.

When the Aretha anthem was over, everyone was on their feet, clapping and cheering. And Kathryn walked away with an armload of five bouquets.

For Rich’s review, look to the separate article, “Classical Piano Recital.”

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Kathryn J & C


Kathryn singing Marshall


Kathryn J & C


Kathryn J & C


Kathryn singing Marshall