Instrumental Music Hosts Dinner Dance


Music Director Johnny Johnson conducts the jazz band during the annual Jazz Dinner Dance at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette.

Luther Kuefner, Staff Writer

The Campolindo Jazz Band hosted the annual Jazz Dinner Dance at Temple Isaiah in Lafayette on March 2. The evening was filled with music, dancing, and food.

4 groups performed throughout the night, including 3 combos and a big band. According to Music Director Johnny Johnson, the combos were mostly student-run, while the big band, a group composed of all the musicians in the jazz band program, was under his direction.

While the combo’s had more input into their set lists for the night, Johnson took the helm when it came to the big band.

“The students exceeded my expectations,” said Johnson. “They stepped it up to a professional level.”

Notable attendees included Stanley Middle School Music Director Bob Athayde, retired Campolindo Music Director Harvey Benstein, and Campolindo’s own Principal John Walker.

The music started with the Blue Combo as the guests arrived. Highlights from the Blue Combo’s setlist included jazz repertoire staples “Passion Dance” by McCoy Tyner and “Footprints” by Miles Davis. According to pianist Nathaniel Miller, the set ended with a surprise performance of Miles Davis’ “Blue & Green.”

“It’s one of the most amazing things written. It’s an individual jazz standard. There’s nothing written quite like it,” said Miller.

Following the Blue Combo, dinner was served while the C Combo provided background music. Guests were first served a spring mix salad, followed by a main course of chicken picatta or beef wellington.

The dancing began after dinner, backed by the Big Band. The Big Band opened with Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood,” which attracted flocks of attendees to the dance floor. “People were dancing and clapping, it was great,” said Johnson.

According to Miller, it was a different experience playing in a dance-hall setting compared with a standard concert. “It’s different playing while people are dancing, you’re not only reacting to other musicians, you’re reacting to the crowd,” said Miller.