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September 25, 2007 > East Bay Jazz Festival

East Bay Jazz Festival

Keeping Jazz Alive

By Anuja Seith

An offspring of a multi-hued society, Jazz, is a melodious combination of African and Western music traditions. Spiritual, blues and ragtime stemming from West Africa fused with the music of new European immigrants who came to settle in New Orleans in 1800s.
Lyrical compositions soon made it the heartbeat of the nation. Years later, the East Bay Regional Traditional Jazz Society endeavors to keep the magic of this original art form pulsating in hearts and mind of people. "The whole idea is to keep Jazz alive and the best way to keep it going is exposing young people to it," says John Soulis, Co-president of the society.

For seven years, the society has arranged a traditional jazz festival encouraging seasoned and novice student musicians to play New Orleans style of music. Their seventh annual festival displays the talent of adult bands Devil Mountain, Mission Gold, Natural Gas, SF Feetwarmers and its youth band, Jazzinators. As the air rings with melodious tunes, festival goers can take a cakewalk with umbrellas around a smooth and creamy cake or adorn in attire of 1920 and 30's for a costume competition and a raffle.

Proceeds from the festival supports the society's fund for youth scholarships awarded to students interested in New Orleans's Dixieland Jazz. Selection criteria for these scholarships requires students to have a good understanding of the music and expertise in their instruments as well as a willingness to attend summer jazz camp or special tutoring in traditional jazz. They must contribute to Jazzinators for a year.

Youth band not only offers a fun training ground but also community service hours towards graduation of these young artists. Every year in June, the society hosts a large festival at Pacific Commons inviting junior high and high school kids to sign up for Jazz classes. So, if your child has a passion for these mellow rhythms, this is an opportunity to open the door to the world of Jazz.

East Bay Regional Jazz Festival
Saturday, September 29
10:45 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Swiss Park
911 Mowry Ave., Newark
(510) 657-0243

Tickets: $ 25 ($ 20 in advance)

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