Final Jazz Concert Tuesday Night

Caleb on trumpet will be one of the players at the Final Jazz Concert tonight

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight, the Idyllwild Arts Jazz Department will showcase their final concert at 7:30 p.m.  It will be the culmination of a year of many successes for the tight-knit, talented group.

“We’re listening to a great jazz performance by high school kids,” you have to keep pinching yourself.  It’s always is comparable to any professional jazz concert.

The start of their Big Year came last fall, actually. Jacob, a saxophone and flute player, was featured on the back cover of the annual “Jazz in the Pines” program. Then he and Caleb, a trumpet player, took the stage with Marshall Hawkins, head of the jazz department, to play a few numbers.

“We always love to be onstage,” Jacob said.

It was also a good way to show the folks that attended the jazz fest that their scholarship money was going to help talented youth like Jacob and Caleb.

Then came Master Class jam sessions with friends of Marshall’s, attending jazz concerts off the hill, and entering jazz contests, where they almost always leave with the top prize.

As a sax player, Jacob won many awards this year. Marshall Hawkins on bass in background.

Jacob made it to the Semifinals of the 2011 Spotlight Music Awards, where winners get to strengthen their audition and performance skills. He also won second place in the “Student Jazz Competition” in Ventura. On May 5, Jacob also got to perform with Earth, Wind & Fire’s trumpet player in front of a live audience.

Caleb also walked away with a medal and title of “Trumpet Player of the Year” at a jazz competition in Reno in March. The Idyllwild Arts jazz group won third prize that time.

However, at another jazz competition in Boston, they took first prize. (Yet, these cats are too cool to mention it!)

Alejandro, Ashi, Inigo and Eddie, recently joined Scarlett, the director to record the soundtrack for “Penelope,” one of the year’s student films that will be released next weekend. The jazz group worked for several hours for pepperoni pizza.

“It’s all about the experience,” Alejandro said of the recording session with his friends. “We would’ve done it for nothing.”

I know that I’m leaving out a lot of other jazz accolades and accomplishments. (Most of the information I garner for my blog stories come from driving these students around, and talking to them. But they have a favorite driver who takes them everywhere, so I have to gather information when and where I can).

But I do know that Jacob, Caleb, and Lake all got to play with “Season 10 American Idol” heartthrob and jazz bass player Casey Abrams at Cafe Aroma many times before he became nationally famous. My favorite picture of all of them  is a back shot of them playing at night on the deck. It was taken by someone at Cafe Aroma. They look hip, happy and wise beyond their youth.

(from L) Marshall, Lake and Caleb performing at Lake's recital.

So, in other words, the final jazz concert tonight, with these talented jazz students will be beyond any jam session that you’ve ever attended. More than likely, Marshall Hawkins and Paul Carman will be playing along with them (like proud parents).

The place will be packed, so get there early. It all starts at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall located at the end of Tollgate Road. It’s free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call (951) 659-2171.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Published on: May 24, 2011 @ 15:14

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