Jazz Dinner Offers Unique Performance Experience

Vaughn Luthringer, Staff Writer

The jazz band hosted its annual dinner at the Moraga Country Club on February 11.

According to Campolindo music instructor Johnny Johnson, the event is a long-time tradition, since before he began his tenure.  Open to the public, the event raises money by offering food and music. “People can pay to come and have dinner, and enjoy the entertainment,” said Johnson. “That’s us providing the entertainment,” he added.

“The big band is split into 2 combos, and each of those combos has a set, and then the JV Jazz had a set,” Johnson explained.

The Jazz Dinner is one event that provides outside-of-school practice for Johnson’s students. “The biggest benefit is that the students get to play in a professional type setting,” said Johnson. “This is what people do at weddings, other events like this, where people pay to come and hear them play.”

The event is also a fundraiser for the music program. “It never makes a huge amount of money, but last year we added some raffles to it, and that generated a little more income,” Johnson said. “We had sponsorships, sometimes, and that brings in a little extra money.” 

Real-life experience also came in the form of unexpected challenges. “In the beginning, the sound check, we had a few problems,” said junior musician Edward Chen. “Our scheduling was a bit off, from the beginning.”

“There were some problems with serving the food on time,” added junior musician Daniel Warner. “It was served late, and that kind of messed with things.”

Unlike an event where the audience’s attention is focused solely on the performers, the Jazz Dinner was casual, with many attendees talking over the music and eating. “[The late serving] drew the attention away from what was supposed to be happening, which was the combo,” Chen added. “And the combos had the role of playing dance music, except for you can’t really dance while you’re eating at the same time.”

Each year we always try and move the times around to make the event run the best we can, and it did go pretty well this year,” Warner said.

I have to say, like [after] three years of doing this. . . it was actually a pretty good year,” said Chen. “Compared to like my freshman year, where everything was just really rushed, and since I was a freshman, I was really nervous performing my first show.” 

All the guests who came had a good time,” said Warner. “Lots of people danced, and all us musicians playing had fun.”