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Young Musicians Featured at Campana Jazz Festival

36th annual Campana Jazz Festival at Amador Valley High School attracted hundreds of driven youth musicians from Northern California.

Attendees enjoyed astounding musical performances Saturday when 51 youth jazz bands, combos and choirs representing 24 Northern California high schools and middle schools descended on the campus in Pleasanton for the ,

The festival is named in honor of Mr. Jim Campana, the former, long-standing musical director at Amador who helped bring the school’s program to prominence during his 20 years with the school.

Coordinated by Amador parents, Marilyn Palowitch and Lori Ratto, in conjunction with the music department staff of Amador and dozens of volunteers, the event featured competition performances, musical “adjudication” for each band from professional musicians, and a series of free music workshops also taught by professional musicians.

Bands participating included those from both Amador and as well as , and Middle Schools.

Special honors for local schools included a third-place award in the overall middle school division, for Harvest Park Middle School's jazz band, led by music director Paul Perazzo. Also honored with first-place wins in the High School ‘A’ and ‘B’ divisions, were Valley Christian High’s Jazz 'A' and 'B' bands, directed by David Gregoric.

Foothill High School's 'A’ band, under the direction of Josh Butterfield, took second-place honors.

In the instrumental section awards, trumpet section received top honors for the ‘B’ division. Schools from the Tri-Valley took home all three awards In the High School ‘A’ band division section, with Monte Vista (Danville) High School’s rhythm section winning first, rhythm section earning second place, and the saxophone section at Monte Vista earning third place.

In the jazz ‘Combo’ division, made up of instrumental ensembles with less than 10 musicians each, earned first place.

Twenty eight students received individual scholarships from nine regional music camps and schools, totaling $13,280 in awards.

Among the noteworthy award winners was Harvest Park Middle School tenor saxophonist, Brandon Zhang, who took home a $500 scholarship from the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Neel Kale of Pleasanton Middle School won a $100 scholarship to the Tri-Valley Summer Music Camp.

Other scholarships went to tenor saxophonist Kim Stephenson, along with Andrew Schultz and Keith Love, also of Foothill. Bria Alexander, Ryan McCray, Brandon Mausler, Dimitri Morris and Johanne Ramirez of Valley Christian won scholarships in addition to Sam Kless, Kyle Valdick and Justin Castillo of Dublin High.

When thanking the crew of volunteers who helped make this year’s festival possible, Campana co-chair, Marilyn Palowitch said this year’s festival was the tenth that the Palowitch family has been involved with, either as parents or as volunteers.

“This is the first year we don’t have a student participating,” Palowitch said during the awards ceremony. “And we’re still involved!”

Her son, Chris, however, had a good reason for not attending. This week the Amador junior and bass trombonist was part of an elite group of youth musicians from across the country selected to perform and train with the .

Palowitch’s husband, Carl, said in a phone conversation today that, “We get ribbed about this all the time. ‘You put on this whole festival for your kid, and he’s not even here,’ people joke."

“But Chris is actually on a plane right now on his way home from L.A.,” he said.

Other schools receiving top honors included several of the acclaimed youth jazz bands from Folsom schools.

As the Campana Jazz Festival continues in Pleasanton, the Palowitches, along with co-chair Lori Ratto, hope to continue the tradition of music appreciation in the Tri-Valley area and beyond.

Marilyn Palowitch February 27, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Cameron - The Patch article covering the Feb. 22 Board Meeting did not cover the 7 Period Day discussion - even though this one discussion lasted 2 hours! - and had 13 speakers, in addition to staff who made the presentation, and the room was packed with additional supporters. 3 Faculty members were present and spoke as well. While you call for comments, please ask why the Patch did not cover this topic which received so much attention and community presence at the School Board Meeting. Here's an important number from Sr. Dir. Pupil Services Kevin Johnson: 1000 students between Foothill and Amador are pre-registerd for 7 periods in 2011-12 (working with the assumption they will get 7 periods). That is 25% more that in 2009-10, the last time 7 periods were offered. The demand is higher next year, because students limited by 6 periods in 10-11 are now behind in meeting a-g requirements and recommendations for entry to college. If 7 periods are cut for the 2nd year in a row, students who chose arts over a-g requirements THIS year will HAVE to choose a-g next year, just to get into college. And the tailspin in music will continue. If anyone reading this is a parent of one of those 1000 students who would rather take an extra hour of learning in 2011-2012, for the arts, AVID, ROP, or even just to get what they need to graduate, it's time to let your school board know how important it is to you and your son or daughter.
Paul D. Everts February 27, 2011 at 09:25 PM
You band boosters need to stay strong and focused. And yes, it isn't just about band/music,IT'S ABOUT ALL THE NON-NCLB CLASSES. Once NCLB (and probably some other 'things' ie, AP) said, "We are only going to test certain courses" oppose to ALL CLASSES STUDENT TAKE, then the "Race-to-a-different-top" happened. NOT EVERYONE IS GOING INTO COLLEGE. NCLB/AP/I will ADD ACT/SAT are probably supported by the same companies that print textbooks and tests (that's the corruption). They need to sell products!! Teachers have fallen for their being the "cat's meow." Gosh, how do the the other nations survive without NCLB/AP? Don't want to sound crazy. Follow the money... Mrs. Palowitch is correct. USE THE PARCEL TAX VOTE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. If a majority part of those monies are not specifically going to support the non-NCLB courses, THEN FORGET IT!! You are going to see the numbers continue to drop and who "they" will blame... The teachers-EASY TARGET. No. Those who blame the teachers for dropped numbers - blame the teachers - because they (usually uninvolved/uninformed parents) DON'T LIKE the teachers. I heard Foothill at a recent band festival....AWESOME. The percussion ensemble just came in second place at a recent competition. I can say the same thing about AVHS. Thank you for the information Mrs. Palowitch. GET TO THAT NEXT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING.
Marnette Federis February 28, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Thanks for the putting all that information on this section Marilyn, I will be definitely watching to see what will happen with 7 Period. At the time, I only had time to cover one issue and that focus went towards the actual cuts taking place (as you know, the meeting went to almost midnight). I will be revisiting all the info I gleaned from the 7 period discussion in an upcoming preview article of the school board meeting witha special section on what was discussed about 7 period. Thanks so much for keeping us all up-t0-date on this issue!
Marilyn Palowitch March 01, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Marnette - I know it was a late meeting, but the cuts were not news. They had been presented at past meetings and little had changed. Of course, you were obligated to report the cuts, but even you said in a thread on your story how suprised you were that so few people commented at the meeting on the cuts. Likely few people are reading your article as well. If I wanted the community to read the Patch, I'd report on the subject that draws public interest. Last Tuesday, it was the 7 period day. Preview article? Not sure what that means. The 7 period day was on the agenda last week, not this week, and I'm still hoping to see complete coverage in the Patch. I hope this story does not have to be told through commentary.
Marnette Federis March 01, 2011 at 05:57 PM
Hi Marilyn, absolutely, I think you're right in that this is something that we should highlight. We've actually decided to do a separate article, versus what I had said previously. Hope you don't mind if we contact you about this issue!

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