By Kathy Cecchin
Jazzabration Living Legend Award-winner singer Sylvia Boyd first saw Bobby Chavez when he was playing jazz at the Lighthouse Cafe in Manhattan Beach, California. “I gotta work with that guy,” she thought. Less than a year later she will join the Husky Jazz Ensemble for their concert on Dec. 1.
Chavez invited Boyd to join the evening’s festivities to celebrate his first concert as ELAC’s Jazz Ensemble Director. Music Department Chair Dr. Anthony J. Lupica appointed Chavez to the position last May.
Now his 10th year at ELAC, Chavez also teaches the Jazz Improvisation Workshop and Music of Mexico, a curriculum he developed that he also teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Extension School.
ELAC’s Christmas Jazz Concert has traditionally been a showcase for the Music Department’s students.
Chavez says spent the last year getting to know his ensemble students musically and designed the concert around their strengths.But he also changed up the annual program for his debut concert as concert director.
That is where Boyd comes in and she is happy to oblige.
“I love working with the students,” Boyd said, “It’s a learning experience for everyone.”
The Christmas-themed concert will feature all new pieces performed by the ensemble, including a rendition of The Beatles’ “And I Saw Her Standing There.” Students Angelene Storey and Marilynn Melisa Ramirez will join Boyd in leading the audience in a rendition of “Feliz Navidad.”
The six-piece Jazz Combo will play a breakout session mid-program. Chavez formed the Jazz Combo this year in response to interest from students within the larger ensemble. The concert offers a platform for them to debut their work.
A professional jazz trumpetist percussionist, vocalist, arranger and composer, Chavez spent 24 years as the musical conductor and director for the United States Army Band. He authored three books: “Tito Puente and The Mambo,” “Mosaic Landscapes – The Music History of Mexico” and “The Magic of Mexico!”
Concert admission is free, but donations will be accepted.
The donations will help support students traveling to the Monterey Jazz Festival in the spring. The Husky Jazz Band will perform at 8 p.m. in the S2 Performing and Fine Arts Complex Recital Hall.