From leading back to back shows to driving over 1,000 miles to judge in the Reno Jazz festival, the faculty of the City College music department have had a busy and eventful season.
While the Spring 2017 SBCC Music Concert Series is closing out, the department is not done for the summer yet.
The department will host the first annual String and Wind Festival from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Garvin and Jurkowitz theatres, and the Drama and Music Building. The festival will feature 16 school and community concert bands and string orchestras from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange and Riverside counties.
“We hope this helps to foster concert groups in Santa Barbara by creating performance goals and giving students a memoir of their achievements,” associate music professor James “Jim” Mooy said in an email.
Music professor Eric Heidner said the idea for the festival came about because him and his colleagues noticed a strong decline in the number of local junior high and high school students playing in bands and orchestras. He said he “wanted to give them something, a goal to shoot for, for them to keep playing.”
Heidner and Mooy had been thinking about putting on an event like this for several years and finally started planning the festival in August 2016.
“If there’s enough interest, we hope to make this an annual event,” Heidner said. “We hope to get more and more groups involved in the future.”
The groups will perform for and be judged by a panel of top music educators, who will review them and offer music coaching.
Dr. Charles “Chuck” Wood, emeritus music professor at City College, is one of the six judges, and will oversee the sight-reading portion.
After performing, groups will move onto the choir room in the Music Drama Building to receive critique sessions for their performances. They will then move onto the Band Room to sight read and perform a piece of music they have never seen before for Wood.
Heidner emphasized that groups will not be competing against each other but rather “competing for their own abilities.”
Groups will be rated on a scale of four rankings: superior, excellent, good and fair. Musicians of groups who score a grade of superior or excellent will receive stickers for their instrument cases to boast their achievements at the festival.
Admission to the festival is free and open to the general public, who can enjoy watching the groups perform in the Garvin Theatre. Groups will perform half-hour sets throughout the day.
Outside of the theatres, there will be food and refreshments, instrument sales and demonstrations and a merchandise booth from Nick Rail Music where CDs and T-shirts will be sold.
The City College Flute Choir, Clarinet Quartet and Trombone Choir will also have lunchtime exhibitions at noon, 12:20 and 12:40 p.m. respectively. The City College Concert Band will end the night with an exhibition at 6 p.m., conducted by Heidner.
“Especially for our student groups, not only would they have a good performance, but learn something to take back with them to improve, learn and keep going with music,” said Heidner, who is finishing up his 14th year of teaching at City College. “Music is a lifelong commitment. I’m still learning things myself as a musician.”