Jazz all-stars to perform at new center

By From page B6 | March 29, 2013

The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Univeristy of California, Davis, in conjunction with SFJAZZ, is proud to announce this year’s members of the Mondavi Center SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. The seven person ensemble includes music students from two area high schools with five returning members and two new members.

Returning ensemble members are pianist Joey Cozza, drummer Paul Slater, trumpeter Jeric Rocamora and alto sax player Emery Mesich all from Rio Americano High School in Sacramento. Also returning is guitarist Noah Wolfe from Davis Senior High School. New this year is tenor sax player Lucas Bere and bassist Emma Simpson both from Rio Americano High School.

The All-Stars will perform on Saturday, March 30 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the new SFJAZZ Center with members of the San Francisco SFJAZZ High School All Stars and members of the SFJAZZ Collective sitting in.

“I’m really excited about the opening of the new SFJAZZ Center, and what it means for the whole jazz community, and so proud of our connections to the SFJAZZ organization,” said Jeremy Ganter, associate executive director and director of programming for the Mondavi Center. “The All-Stars have once again worked exceptionally hard to live up to their namesake. Capping off their year at the SFJAZZ Center should be a phenomenal experience.”

The All-Stars were selected by a panel of judges during a closed audition in the fall of 2012 at the Mondavi Center. Participants in the final audition were selected following open auditions in September of 2012.

Returning to lead the ensemble is Mike McMullen, founding member of the Sacramento region’s Capital Jazz Project and a jazz studies faculty member at California State University, Sacramento.

“The demands are great; the rewards are greater,” said McMullen. “This sums up the experience of working with the high performing students in the current All-Stars. Their basic goal is to present difficult but satisfying music. To each in this process comes inspiration, friendship, sacrifice and life lessons. To each comes artistic growth and challenge. Each crosses a boundary, and becomes part of a greater whole.”

McMullen said that having some returning members in the band changes the dynamic.

“They are a year older, and have more experience and clarity in their expectations of themselves and the ensemble,” he said. “They are more confident, have taken on more challenging pieces, and now absorb the greater demands into very busy lives. They grow personally, artistically and the reward is there.”

In addition to performance opportunities at the Mondavi Center and the SFJAZZ Center, the ensemble will participate in clinics with professional jazz musicians. They have also received tickets to see the artists in the Mondavi Center’s 2012–13 Capital Public Radio Jackson Hall and Studio Jazz Series.

Tickets for all 2012–13 Mondavi Center performances are on sale at 866-754-2787 and at

For more information about the Mondavi Center SFJAZZ High-School All-Stars visit

Mondavi Center

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