SBCC jazz bands lament program closure during outstanding show

August Lawrence, Staff Writer

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City College jazz bands performed an unforgettable and bittersweet night of music at the SOhO Restaurant and Music Club Monday night, announcing the closure of the Applied Music program.

Due to budget cuts, the program that focused on producing talented, well-rounded musicians, is being cut from City College’s curriculum.

Many music students relied on the program to improve their skills and get them into more sought-after music schools.

“I’m sad, we’re all basically in the program,”  said trumpeter Sergio Rodriguez. “It’s irresponsible and unfair to students to close the program down.”

The night began with the Good Times Big Band, led and conducted by Eric Heidner.

With its twangy, folk-driven set, Good Times got the crowd warmed up and moving.

“Our performance was good,” said trombonist Kevin Roman. “Definitely room for improvement but the crowd was involved.”

Good Times had the house dancing in their seats, but the closure of the Applied Music program loomed over the evening.

“Hope you enjoy what you’re seeing here today,” Heidner said after the set. “All the lessons we give are on the chopping block.”

Next, the audience was treated to a set of experimental, improvisational takes on old jazz standards by the New World Jazz Ensemble.

The smallest ensemble of the evening, New World’s performance was more intimate, allowing its individual players to shine through.

“It’s my job to prepare them to perform professionally,” Band Leader Tony Ybarra said. “Jazz requires involvement and suggestions. The program taught that.”

New World members were visually enjoying themselves while performing. Players smiled, joyfully high fived each other after solos and told jokes between songs.

Finally, Jim Mooy and his Lunch Break Big Band took the stage.

“Let’s just get it going,” Mooy said with excitement as he counted in the first song.

The set was loud, lively and dynamic. The performance was fun to watch and its songs were well received by the audience.

The band focused more on “wall-of-sound” numbers that got the crowd grooving.

“Man, these guys have all improved so much with the Applied program,” said Mooy after his set. “But now my son won’t be able to transfer as a junior to a four-year music university because the program’s done with.”

City College’s Applied Music program gave students a chance to study under a seasoned professional for the price of a single semester.

New and returning students won’t have this chance.

“Applied music is a big opportunity for students,” said Paula Shin, a vocal student in the Applied program. “To take that away… What are we supposed to do now?”

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