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College jazz band takes home multiple wins


Posted: June 22, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Updated: June 22, 2014 5:00 a.m.

College of the Canyons Jazz Ensemble received third place in the Community College division at the Reno Jazz Festival.

College of the Canyons Jazz Ensemble set out to win a first-place award at a competition this year, and it achieved that goal in May.

The 17-member big band, directed by K.C. Manji, received the top slot in the Community College Band category of the California Alliance of Jazz State Championships.

All the winners are listed on the nonprofit organization’s website

For this contest, bands enter videos taken of them while competing in other festivals, which saves schools and colleges costly travel expenses and they still receive judge’s comments, Manji said.

The COC ensemble entered a video taken of the band competing in the Reno Jazz Festival in April, where it earned a third-place trophy in the Community College division.

The goal of attending the Reno Jazz Festival was to give jazz band members the opportunity to compete in a festival and hear adjudicator’s comments, Manji said.

“The band also built camaraderie, and worked on advanced literature, bringing it up to a competitive level,” she said.
Another benefit was hearing other jazz ensembles.

“Competition was intense and inspiring,” Manji said. “We heard many terrific ensembles throughout our two days.

The festival was well organized, and they had participants from as far away as Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Arizona and Washington State.”

The hometown jazz band was exposed to many levels of musical repertoire, abilities, age groups and styles, Manji added.

“I believe all of our members walked away feeling proud of their third-place win because the competition was so tough,” she said.

The clinician was positive and encouraging and especially appreciative of the Canyons’ collective ages. Musicians range in age from early 20s to mid-70s.

“He mentioned liking our sound and that we were a good role model for the younger musicians to see,” Manji said.

A clip from the competition has been placed on YouTube under the title “College of the Canyons Jazz Police.”

The competition win is a culmination of a seven-month fundraising effort by the band to raise $4,500 to cover bus transportation to Reno.

The band sold a Christmas CD of holiday songs and some of its competition music. Band members sold raffle tickets at its three concerts during the season. Tickets were drawn at the final concert in March.

The grand prize – a two-hour concert performed by the Jazz Ensemble – was won by Kim Miulli. Another major prize, having the Canyons’ Jazz Trio perform at a special event, was won by William Ramirez.


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