Every semester Cal State Bakersfield puts on what amounts to a miniature music festival, presenting a lot of students performing the work they’ve been working on all term. It’s a great opportunity to see how talented local student musicians are.
Thursday evening begins the weekend of events with the annual Jazz Jam, an event that connects jazz students with a major, usually legendary, performer in rehearsal and performance.
Normally, the Jazz Jam is held in the spring, but has been moved to the fall to separate it from the Bakersfield Jazz Festival, which would normally occur just a few weeks later.
According to jazz professor Jim Scully, this year’s guest artist is drummer Carl Allen, former director of jazz studies at The Juilliard School, who performed at last year’s Jazz Festival.
“He really wanted to do an educational thing while he was here, but it was just too hectic,” Scully said.
Scully said Allen, was able to line up a number of performing engagements on the West Coast for this month, and will be visiting some 20 schools, including CSUB. Students are in for a real education.
“The audience (and students) will hear a world-class drummer who has performed with every important jazz musician of the last 40 years,” Scully said. “His drumming is informed by every style of jazz.”
Students will perform the arrangements they have been working on during the semester, and will also rehearse and perform arrangements brought by Allen, who will perform with the students.
“He’s very into teaching,” Scully said. “It’s very nice to have someone who likes to do that instead of has to do that.”
Thursday’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Dore Theatre. Contact Scully at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Saturday evening, the CSUB Concert Band will take over the Dore Theatre for their fall concert. Led by Dr. Leo Sakomoto, the wind ensemble will perform a mix of traditional works for band as well as new compositions, including “Urashima Taro,” a composition by Dr. Kyle Shaw, the new professor of music theory and composition at CSUB.
Other pieces on the program include Frank Ticheli’s “Earth Song,” William Bolcom’s adaption of his piano composition “Graceful Ghost Rag” and music by leaders of the 1950s wind ensemble movement Peter Mennin and Vittorio Giannini.
“The Giannini Symphony No. 3 is a monumental work for band, composed in 1958,” Sakomoto wrote in an email. “Peter Mennin’s ‘Canzona’ was written about the same time period (1950).”
Rounding out the concert is “Vulcan” by Michael Daugherty. “Star Trek” fans will recognize this piece as a tribute to “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry.
The series of concerts concludes on Sunday afternoon with a program by the university’s Chamber Music program in Room 127 of the CSUB music building, located next to the Dore Theatre.
Dr. Soo-Yeon Park, who, along with Dr. Joel Haney, directs the student chamber music performers, said the program will feature a wide range of ensemble sounds and repertoire, including music for string quartet, guitar ensemble, percussion duo, brass trio and piano four-hands.
Music on the program includes contemporary works such as “This One Day,” by Josh Gottry, Vaclav Nelhybel’s Trio for Brass and Poulenc’s Sonata for Piano, Four Hands.
Park said the students get a double-dose of rehearsal to prepare for these concerts: In addition to their regular private lessons, the students meet for regular coaching, plus rehearsal and even a midterm “peer review.”
“The midterm clinic is kind of a master class,” Park said. “At that time, their (student) colleagues are giving them constructive feedback.”
“It’s always wonderful because they have keen listening skills,” Park said.