Virtual performance magnificently highlights students’ musical chops

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The+Santa+Barbara+City+College+%22Lunch+Break+Big+Band%22+performing+on+March+1%2C+2021+over+Youtube+through+Jamulus.+The+band+come+together+again+after+technical+difficulties+on+Monday%2C+Feb+22+prevented+them+from+performing+synchronistically.

Bianca Ascencio

The Santa Barbara City College “Lunch Break Big Band” performing on March 1, 2021 over Youtube through Jamulus. The band come together again after technical difficulties on Monday, Feb 22 prevented them from performing synchronistically.

Bianca Ascencio, Copy Editor

After technical difficulties last week prevented band members from joining over spotty internet, the City College Lunch Break Big Band received applause in the form of Zoom emoticons on Monday night after its first virtual concert of the year.

The concert took place live on YouTube via Jamulus, the free open-sourced music performance software that enables live rehearsing in real-time.

“We are very happy with the software,” said James Mooy, the band director. “We get to see each other, talk to each other and congratulate each other every day.”

City College is home to some of the few college bands still meeting thanks to this technology. Jamulus allows student musicians to see and hear each other in a real-time virtual setting.

The Lunch Break Big Band had members logging in and playing from as far south as Moorpark up to the San Francisco Bay.

This concert was dedicated to Kevin Garren, who passed away from Mediastinal Nonseminoma, an extremely rare and aggressive form of Germ Cell Cancer, on February 15, 2021. 

Mooy said the past couple of months have been “tough for the jazz world,” going on to list some influential jazz icons who have passed away, including former Lunch Break member, Garren. 

The show started off with “For Fans Only,” an original composition by student guitarist Grant Grech. The piece has a “big, fat, yummy guitar solo” as explained by Mooy.

“Writing for Big Band is something I’ve been doing for a few years now,” Grech said. “Being able to hear my own writing played by this incredible band is amazing.”

City College is home to some of the few college bands still meeting thanks to this technology. Jamulus allows student musicians to see and hear each other in a real-time virtual setting.

His influences for big band arranging including Frank Foster, Quincy Jones, Thad Jones, and Sammy Nestico. His future plans include writing more, playing more, and refining his “completed” works.

“Now that we have this virtual band, I have the opportunity to potentially present more music,” said Grech. “[I can] play with people I’ve never played with before, and collaborate with others from a distance.”

The virtual concert also featured a ballad performed by trombone soloist Kevin Roman.

“In order to prepare for the solo I’ve been listening to the song ‘The Bluest of Blues’ over and over again in order to get it mapped in my head,” Roman said.

Recently, Roman had to re-learn the trombone due to having his braces removed.

“It’s been a lot easier to overcome thanks to the help of my bandmates and director Jim Mooy.”

The band performed for nearly an hour, uninterrupted to over 70 live viewers.

The next virtual concerts are set for 6.p.m on April 12, and 5 p.m. on April 18 featuring the Monday Madness Band.