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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC Jazz bands have a strong semester after loss of director

Alejandro Gonzalez Valle
City College’s Lunchbreak Jazz Band performs on Monday, March 18, 2019, at the Soho Restaurant & Music Club in Santa Barbara, Calif. The band performed five pieces, “Blue Daniel”, “You Go To My Head”, “Mornin’ Reverend”, “La Fiesta”, and “Who Me?”.

City College’s jazz ensembles have been working hard all semester, learning challenging new songs and playing shows from Santa Barbara to Monterey.

“Everyone was pretty much on the ball,” Monday Madness director Andrew Martinez said.

Monday Madness is City College’s top-level professional band.

Martinez stepped up to accept the position after long time band director Isaac “Ike” Jenkins passed away December 2018.

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“The sudden transition of directors was a challenge,” Martinez said. “Stepping into someone’s footsteps like that was difficult.

“[Monday Madness] did a really good job of coming together. It was a healing process.”

Of all the five concerts the band played over the semester, the Ike Jenkins Legacy Concert was Martinez’s proudest achievement.

Held at SOhO, a small music club in downtown Santa Barbara, Monday Madness paid tribute to the late director by playing some of his favorite songs.

“It was a really emotional night, we all played with a heavy heart,” Martinez said.

Looking to the fall semester, Martinez promises Monday Madness will hit the ground running with a handful of shows in September.

Eric Heidner’s Good Times Big Band had a very productive semester as well.
“We started off with a newer band that really came together, musically and socially as well,” Heidner said.

Good Times is City College’s intermediate level big band, where students can learn what playing in an ensemble is like.

“We don’t go out for trophies, we’re not a competing band,” Heidner said.

Instead, the band focused on learning higher level charts like a professional band would.

Good Times’ guitarist Kellen Romano composed a song for the band to play, a rendition of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant.”

“That is no easy feat to do, it was really a feather in our cap,” Heidner said. “I’d be challenged.”

Heidner said the true strength of the band lied with the enthusiasm of the students and that he was “only a guide.”  

“City College in some ways is like a junior high, students come in and out in two years,” Heidner said. “But some community members come and stay for decades, it’s really a continual process.”

Looking to Good Times’ future, he promises lots of exciting new pieces and more music.

The Lunch Break Big Band, City College’s third ensemble, has also had an eclectic semester. From playing at the 49th Annual Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California to backing star trumpeter Wayne Bergeron at the Dos Pueblos Jazz Festival in Goleta, the band is no stranger to large venues.

All of the ensembles will be returning to City College in the fall semester, picking things up where they left off.

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