What: Concert benefiting the Davis High School Jazz Band’s spring trip to New Orleans
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Brunelle Performance Hall at DHS, 315 W. 14th St.
Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students
In June 2010, students Jon Hatamiya, Colin McDaniel, Erik Maroney and Neil Heaton donned caps and gowns and received diplomas at Davis High School’s graduation ceremony.
Then they pursued college educations — three at universities elsewhere, one at UC Davis.
Now, the four friends are back in town to see their families for the holidays. And they’re taking advantage of their momentary proximity to stage a fundraising concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High, 315 W. 14th St.
A portion of the proceeds from the tickets ($10 adults, $5 students) will go to the DHS Band Boosters to support the Jazz Band’s trip to New Orleans in the spring.
Hatamiya is pursuing an undergraduate degree in jazz trombone at the Manhattan School of Music.
“The music scene and arts scene in New York is awesome,” Hatamiya said. “It’s cool to be around so much great music all the time.”
And his abilities have come to the attention of some movers and shakers. In August, Hatamiya was one of 16 rising young stars of jazz mentioned by Wynton Marsalis in an article in Jet Magazine. Earlier this year, the DHS grad was recognized with a Silver Award by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.
And Hatamiya also got a call from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, asking him if he could be a last-minute substitute for one of its concerts.
“I had too much going on at school, so it didn’t work out,” said Hatamiya, who’s hoping the orchestra will call again.
Hatamiya said he’s “definitely glad to be home in Davis” for the holidays. “It’s been great getting together with Erik and Colin and Neil, who are some of my closest friends here. We have a really good group put together for this show.
“Two of the other guys in the band are graduates of Rio Americano High School in Sacramento — saxophone players Zach Giberson and Zach Dorf. Our guitarist is Arlyn Anderson, who plays professionally throughout Sacramento; Colin and I have played with Arlyn multiple times.”
Hatamiya likely will bring a few of his original tunes to Wednesday’s concert.
Heaton is studying jazz piano performance at McGill University in Montreal.
“I’m going through the program there, and I’m playing a lot of piano in several groups and at a jazz club,” Heaton said.
Montreal is primarily a French-speaking city, which Heaton admits is “somewhat challenging,” since he is still learning the language.
“For now, I can understand things people say in the grocery store, and read the menu in the restaurants. I’m trying!”
Heaton said coming back to Davis and playing with his high school buddies is “always good. We’ve met up a couple of times last summer and last winter. It’s always pretty effortless to get in the swing with them.
“When you’re at a certain level and you’re all playing together, it’s not hard to get used to playing with each other again. No one sounds exactly the same, of course. Everybody’s learned new stuff, everybody’s playing has evolved. But I get together with them, I remember I was playing with these people in ninth and 10th grade.”
For the concert, Heaton is “thinking of bringing in a song I wrote, or an arrangement I’ve done. … The other guys are bringing in things they wrote. But it’s not going to be a concert of strictly original music; there will be jazz standards, too.”
As a student at McGill, “I’ve been working on technique, my chops,” he said. “Just how well I can play the instrument, what type of sound I get out of the instrument.
“A lot of people are more caught up in the music that they’re playing, rather than how they’re playing it. I now realize you can play the same thing (in more than one way). It’s more important the manner in which you play it; you can make it sound happy or sad, depending on how you play it.”
Maroney — who played in Symphonic Band and Jazz Band at Davis High, in addition to singing tenor with the Madrigals — will play stand-up bass at the concert. He’s studying at UCD, with the goal of twin degrees in classical music composition and civil engineering.
“Colin, Jon and I keep in touch,” Maroney said. “We all share compositional ideas, and when we’re all together in the same place, we rehearse. We’ve been rehearsing for Wednesday’s concert for several days now.
“It’s a little bit surreal, playing with the same group of guys (who used to get together in high school). There are a lot of memories. It’s nice coming back together now that we’ve had new experiences at college. And it’s always a lot of fun to play with each other and come together around something we have in common, and play great music.”
McDaniel will play drums and bring a few of his original compositions to Wednesday’s concert. He is studying at UCLA, and playing with a couple of groups in Southern California.
After graduating from Davis High, McDaniel spent a year playing with the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, based at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. That group played professionally at several jazz festivals, and at a birthday celebration for the band’s namesake, Dave Brubeck.
Last week, McDaniel played in Berkeley at a party marking the release of an album (on the Jazzschool label) of his original compositions, “Skewed Reflection.” McDaniel said the CD release party “went really well.”
“It was attended by a lot of family and friends, and some professional jazz musicians from the Bay Area, several of whom played with me,” he said.
“It’s always nice to come back to Davis,” he added. “When I’m at school, I’m always really busy. So when I come back it takes a couple of days to adjust, and then I settle in.”
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8055.