By Isiah REYES
Glendale rocked to the music of Arturo Sandoval and his big band when they performed Saturday night at the Alex Theatre along with the 2015 Arturo Sandoval Institute All Star Youth Band for “Save the Music 3.”
Sandoval is a 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, a 10-time Grammy Award winner, an Emmy winner, a six-time Billboard Award winner and has an HBO movie about his life titled “For Love or Country.” “Save the Music 3” helped raise funds for the Arturo Sandoval Institute, which was created two years ago to educate and support students in music education.
The show opened with the ASI All Star Youth Band performing songs directed by Frank Vardaros. The band consisted of alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, trombone, trumpet, vibes, piano, guitar, bass and drum players. The student musicians included some from schools in the Glendale area, such as Glendale, Hoover and Crescenta Valley high schools, as well as from the greater Los Angeles area including Long Beach Polytechnic High and West Ranch High School located in Santa Clarita.
Between the set, Sandoval took time to present a scholarship award to saxophone player Christopher Astoquillca who is a student from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
“I would like to thank my family, my friends and all my co-workers,” said Astoquillca. “I would also like to thank the man who made this all possible and brought me up to where I am right now and that’s my dad.”
Scott LaFata, president of The Trumpet Players Hall of Fame, went on stage to honor bandleader, trumpeter, songwriter and actor Ray Anthony for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Anthony adds this recognition to many he has already received, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He played first trumpet in the Glendale Orchestra in the 1940s.
“The goal of the Hall of Fame is to honor the greats to inspire young people around the world with scholarships and assistance,” LaFata said.
The president of the Los Angeles College of Music Thomas Aylesbury also went on stage and recognized Sandoval as a champion for music education by naming the school’s new brass wind and woodwind’s bachelor-associate diploma program in his name. The new programs will be launched in the fall of 2015.
“It’s a privilege and honor for us to have a partnership with the institute,” said Sandoval on receiving his plaque from the Los Angeles College of Music. “I know we are going to help each other because there’s only one cause – and it’s a noble cause – helping young students in music to achieve their dreams.”
Other special guests at the event included Yolanda Duke and Gian Marco. Duke is a jazz, merengue, ballads, bossa nova, salsa and bolero singer who has performed in venues around the world with the Tito Puente Latin Jazz Orchestra. Gian Marco is one of the most prominent Peruvian singers of all time with 12 Latin Grammy nominations and three Latin Grammy awards in 2005, 2011 and 2012 for best singer/songwriter album. He has 20 years of successful artistic experience and has worked with Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony, Thalia, and Paulina Rubio to name a few.
Also on stage was Cuban-American actor and director Andy Garcia, who is known for his roles in films “The Godfather Part III” and the “Ocean’s Eleven” trilogy. As a member of the Arturo Sandoval Institute advisory board, Garcia was on stage playing the bongos.
“The Arturo Sandoval Institute provides education, health coverage, instruments and opportunities to all students and this is most important in order to grow a civil society in a way that represents us and unites us,” said Garcia. “Music is an important part of who we are as human beings.”
Overall, the event was a success in entertaining the crowd as well as for fund raising the Institute. Sandoval has often said that music had saved his life and is the cure for the soul, so he is trying his best to save others with the gift of music.