Talented Jazz Band alums reunite

By From page A3 | December 23, 2012

What: Second annual Davis High School Alumni Jazz Concert

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29

Where: Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High School, 315 W. 14th St.

Tickets: $10 general, $5 for DHS students with ID; available at the door. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the DHS Band Boosters

Then (part one): June 2010. Five friends who had played together in the Davis High School Jazz Band donned graduation robes and received their diplomas. They advanced to college in the fall — and even though they were studying at different academic institutions, they stayed in touch with eachother.

Then (part two): Late December 2011. The five friends came back from college to be with their families for the holidays. And since they were all in town, they put together a special one-night Jazz Band alumni reunion, featuring some of their own original material. Some 300 friends, fans and family members attended, and the five friends donated a healthy portion of the proceeds to the Davis High School Band Boosters to support the music programs they’d benefited from during their high school years.

Now: The five friends are back, and they’ve organized another Jazz Band alumni concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High School, 315 W. 14th St. And even though they’re still in college, each is growing and advancing in the realm of music.

“The concert last year was kind of Erik Maroney’s idea,” said Jon Hatamiya, who plays trombone. “It started as an idea to book the high school theater and play together, so we’d be able to have more artistic freedom to write for the instrumentation we wanted, and not be restricted by a club setting.

“Last year’s show was a pretty big success,” Hatamiya added. “About 300 people came out. We were able to pay the musicians and pay for the facility and then give the Band Boosters a pretty big chunk of money.

“Now we’re trying to make it an annual thing,” he said.

Hatamiya is in his third year at the Manhattan School of Music, in New York City.

“School keeps me busy,” he said, “But I’m also working more around town. I played with Jazz at Lincoln Center in February, and they’ve called me back for other things. It’s good to have those connections. And when I’m there and I see Wynton Marsalis, he knows who I am now — which is a good thing.”

Bassist Maroney is studying civil engineering and music composition at UC Davis. He’s been playing with the university’s Baroque Ensemble, the UCD Symphony Orchestra and other groups — but he’s also on the lookout for opportunities to play jazz off campus, including some dates with ensembles at Sacramento State University.

“We’re all good friends,” Maroney said, adding that it’s a treat to reunite with his DHS Jazz Band classmates and play together again.

Oscar Garibay is studying trumpet performance and music education at Sacramento State. He’s also playing professionally with Mariachi Sacramento and other groups, taking lessons with trumpet professors in this area and the Bay Area, and teaching lessons himself to younger students. Like the others, Garibay is looking forward to playing jazz again at his alma mater.

Pianist Neil Heaton is a student at McGill University in Canada. “I’m in the middle of my third year there, studying music and jazz piano,” he said.

And drummer Colin McDaniel is in his second year at UCLA. After graduating from Davis High, McDaniel played for a year with the Dave Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, based at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. That quintet toured nationally, and McDaniel got an opportunity during that year to meet Brubeck himself. (Brubeck died last month, one day short of his 92nd birthday.)

“He was a really nice person, and a great educator,” McDaniel said.

At UCLA, McDaniel has yet to choose a major, but he’s “leaning toward cognitive science. I’m still playing a lot with a guitarist from CalArts, and with musicians from UCLA. I just got back from Mexico City in a combo directed by flutist James Newton, performing at an arts university there.”

Hatamiya said, “The five of us definitely stay in touch. These guys are the best musicians I know around the area — we all happened to go to the same high school, and graduate in the same year. So when we come back to be with our parents and families in December, we know we have some good people to play with while we’re here.

“And it’s great that our friends in Davis are still supporting us as we get into professional endeavors, even though we’re not high school students in Davis anymore.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.

Jeff Hudson

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