Any jazz musician’s goal is to perform in front of a packed venue, and any venue owner’s goal is to have a packed venue.
This symbiotic relationship seemed to work out for both parties at the Valencia High School “Jazz Night” fundraiser on Sunday night.
The event was held at Pocock Brewery in Valencia and the brewery’s owner and namesake, Jeff Pocock, said that close community ties and an eagerness to have live music were what made this event happen.
“We’re happy to, to not only do…anything, education-wise, but also music in particular,” said Pocock. “[It’s] just something that’s not really always appreciated as much.”
Harry Christiansen, the band’s vibraphone player, said they’ve had cool opportunities to play at festivals but needed a way to pay for them, which is why the band held this fundraiser. He said that although they’re more accustomed to playing larger shows, having a more intimate atmosphere with the audience is a nice change of pace.
“We’ve never done anything like a restaurant or anything, so I am kind of surprised that it’s more related to, like, a casual atmosphere,” said Christiansen. “But it’s nice, it seems like a lot of people support the band and I really appreciate that.”
Christiansen said most of the songs being played that night were what are known as “standards,” which are songs that are so well-known and played, they’re almost synonymous with the genre.
“It’s most of the ones that we’ve learned… and we’ve learned most of the standards, because sometimes it’s the easiest and sometimes is the most fun,” said Christiansen.
Kelvin Flores, teacher of instrumental music and director of the jazz band, said that seeing his students apply what he’s taught them is always a joy to listen to.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be able to see them apply what they’ve been learning and apply it to a real-world setting here like Pocock brewery,” said Flores. “And just to see them kind of take what they’ve learned, and just be able to transform it and do it on the spot, improvise, and it’s just, it just makes me feel so proud as an educator.”
Flores added that the money raised will not only afford more opportunities to play at festivals, but will also provide new instruments, repairs, sheet music and anything else that could improve the program.
As for Pocock, not only was the free entertainment for the night nice, he also enjoyed the music.
“It’s drawn a nice crowd. They, the students, they all sound great. Musicians are fantastic,” said Pocock. “It’ a nice change of pace. It’s not something you always get, jazz. So it’s really nice to be able to hear that in the background while working.”