SBCC jazz bands to take stage with rock veteran Michael McDonald

August Lawrence, Staff Writer

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City College’s Lunch Break Big Band and New World Jazz Ensemble are all set to take the stage opening for Grammy winner Michael Mcdonald, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Lobero Theatre.

The concert will raise money for City College’s music program, benefitting programs such as the community orchestra, applied musical tech and the college’s various jazz ensembles.

This will be the third time that City College students have performed with former Doobie Brothers vocalist and keyboardist McDonald. 

McDonald is a five-time Grammy winner, including the 1979 Grammy for Record of the Year for “What a Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers. McDonald has also collaborated with Steely Dan, Van Halen and Aretha Franklin. 

“Michael McDonald is one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met,” said Jim Mooy, director of Lunch Break. “He’s such a great example for the students.”

The Lunch Break Big Band and New World Jazz Ensemble are among the most advanced and experienced jazz combos at City College. The two hold several top honors and mentions in numerous musical competitions throughout the West Coast, such as the Reno Jazz Festival and Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival.

As the opening act, Lunch Break plans to warm up the audience with the high energy “What Is Hip” by Tower of Power, “just to give a feel for the night,” Mooy said with an excited smile. “We’re gonna come out of the gate swinging!”

Other songs Lunch Break has ready for the Lobero stage include classics such as “Liberty City” by Jaco Pastorius and “Big Time,” made famous by jazz legend Duke Ellington.

With a fresh set, student band members are feeling jazzed. 

“I love that stage,” said Julian Littlehale, bass player for both bands. “The Lobero is a fun environment to be in.” This will be the second time that Littlehale shares the stage with McDonald.

For Lunch Break guitarist and vocalist Theo Clause, the show is “exciting but nerve-wracking,” since this will be his first time playing with a musician like McDonald. “I always love to perform and be expressive,” Clause said. 

The concert will be held at the Lobero Theatre. In the past, the venue has hosted the Santa Barbara film festival and is a regular venue for notable touring acts such as guitarist Buddy Guy, comedian Jerry Seinfeld and actor singer/songwriter Jeff Bridges.

General admission tickets range from $25 to $75. VIP tickets, which include a meet and greet with McDonald at 5:30, are $150.

“They’re all really solid players… this is a strong year,” Mooy said. “This year’s show will not be one to miss.”

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