Vocal Jazz Ensemble going to New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz


The ARC Vocal Jazz Ensemble singers Cody Quackenbush, Madalyn Parker, Jenna Magaziner, Gabe Catabran, Kate Janzen, Serena Chao and Daniel Avanto rehearse for the national Jazz Education Network that they will attend in New Orleans in January. (Photo by Lidiya Grib)

Lidiya Grib

The American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble was selected to sing in a prestigious national conference in New Orleans in January.

The Jazz Ensemble is one of seven vocal ensembles from across the country selected to sing in the 2017 Jazz Education Network conference.

“New Orleans is the place where jazz was founded; to go there and sing for this conference is a huge deal for anyone in the jazz world” said Gabe Catabran, jazz baritone.

The seven person Jazz Ensemble was selected by the Jazz Education Network (JEN) from an auditory tape of singers in the jazz group before them.

“This is the second time in the eight-year history of the organization that we have been invited to sing there,” said Art LaPierre, jazz director. “We are honored to be going back to New Orleans.”

They will be performing in front of many ‘big names’ in the jazz world. This will also give them an opportunity to network with the nation’s top jazz students.

“JEN is a prestigious event in the Jazz world,” Catabran said.

The mission of JEN is building the jazz arts community by advancing education,  promoting performance and developing new audiences.

The conference intends to connect musicians, educators, students and jazz aficionados together.

“It’s not only that we perform, but we can also see other groups and  work with professionals in the business,” said Jenna Magaziner, jazz singer.

The jazz ensemble competed in the Monterey Jazz Festival last year, but the New Orleans conference is one of their biggest opportunities as a group.

“Monteray was great, but this is just the entire next level,” Catabran said. “It is national, maybe even international.”

LaPierre said the Jazz ensemble is “preparing vigorously” and they have weekly rehearsals that even take place during the holidays.

Their main concern is getting the funding and money support to be able to go the the national convention.

“Right now the students are out there trying to raise $13,000 to get there,” Lapierre said. “It seems we are always in the position of wondering if our trips are going to get funded.”

The Jazz group is trying to get funded by the ARC student senate, the ARC foundation and other school districts.

They are trying to get funding to cover plane tickets, hotel rooms and paying musicians to accompany them.

Just by lobbying the ARC senate, the ensemble managed to raise just under $400, which is just enough to cover one plane ticket.

They also set up a meeting with the student senate to discuss further funding needed.

“They were very interested and very supportive,” Magaziner said. “It was really great to see that support from our school.”

To support the Jazz Ensemble, students and faculty can buy their albums in the ARC bookstore. They can also be found at cdbaby.com.

More information about the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the conference can be found at https://ic.arc.losrios.edu/~vocaljazz/