»The community is invited to slip on their A-line skirts and fedoras and head over to the high school for the annual Jazz Night at the Café.
By Tyler BIDDLE
The typically quiet cafeteria at CV High School will once again be transformed for a night of song and dance. On Saturday, Feb. 9, Jazz Night at the Café will be returning for its fourth year and the crowd keeps growing. With the mood lighting set, dancers in motion, and a live band playing, newcomers will step into a jazz club in full swing.
The night is hosted by the Crescenta Valley High School Instrumental Music Dept. which will provide a 23-person jazz band as the night’s centerpiece. The student band has been practicing under the guidance of Mathew Schick, the high school’s instrumental music teacher.
“We’ve been preparing all year by learning jazz techniques and styles,” he said. “I am extremely proud of the Jazz Band in that they can play a two-hour gig without repeating music.”
For the student musicians, Jazz Night at the Café provides a unique performance opportunity. The improvisational spirit of jazz lends itself perfectly to the ever-changing dance floor.
“In a concert setting, the audience is quiet,” said Schick. “Playing for live dancers presents a more dynamic environment and adds to the overall energy of the performance.” The more people in the room, the more the band and dancers can react to each other’s energy.
“We must have had 50 people last year,” said Casey Magid, a guitarist in the jazz band.
For those brave enough to dive onto the dance floor, an instructor will be providing a free swing lesson. Helen Magid, Casey’s mother and a leading facilitator, fondly recalled last year’s lesson as featuring “two long lines of couples practicing their moves face to face.” Beginners and experts alike can take to the floor to either help out or learn something new.
For those looking instead to merely soak up the atmosphere and relax, appetizers and a full dessert bar featuring a chocolate fountain will be waiting. CVHS parents are donating a wide assortment of pastries and snacks for the event.
This is Schick’s 12th year teaching and conducting students at Crescenta Valley High School and over the years he has led his bands through the preparations and live performances for a myriad of different concerts, musicals and gigs. Aside from Jazz Band, he also teaches Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, String Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra.
Jazz Band represents a taste of the advanced musical talent at CV. Students are required to audition beforehand and must already have previous musical experience before auditioning. Because of its high standards and the unique repertoire it demands, Jazz Band is a first choice for performances representing the high school beyond its borders.
The inception of Jazz Night at the Café began with the high school band’s tradition of playing in the local community. One such performance was for a fundraiser at the La Crescenta Woman’s Club.
“[It was] music for a different generation,” said Magid, who remembered how delighted the older women were to hear “their” music being played by young students.
Four years ago, the CV Instrumental Music Department and parent volunteers decided to give this experience its own venue. Since then, it has been an annual family-oriented event for students, parents, and even children to come experience a part of history.
Jazz Night at the Café kicks off at 7 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. Dress is casual but true swing dance enthusiasts may be sporting swing attire. Admission is $10 for adults and is free for students. Adult admission includes access to the dessert bar and appetizers to which students can also get access for $5 at the door.
CV High School is located at 2900 Community Ave., in La Crescenta. The entrance to the café is at the junction of Glenwood and Prospect avenues.