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Jazz festival was canceled

Posted: January 17, 2009 7:25 p.m.
Updated: January 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.
As a member of the Santa Clarita Valley community and a patron of music education, it saddens me to learn about the cancellation of the 2009 R.K. Downs Jazz Festival at COC.

This festival, in what would have been the 34th year, is being called off for what reason, exactly?

If it's budgetary, then scale down the expenses, appeal to the community for contributions and put out the call for volunteers.

There are many far less affluent communities around our country and the world who make due with much less funding, yet are able to produce vibrant festivals of music and art.

Jazz music itself, born out of financial hardship and pain, (see New Orleans' slave funeral processions) is a reflection of the human spirit's joyful triumph over adversity.

Jazz is the uniquely authentic American art form, and an artistic symbol of the innovation and strength of the American spirit.

That said, the primary factor disrupting a long-standing SCV tradition is even more disappointing.

Lack of rehearsal time for the Studio Jazz Ensemble should not be a show-stopper for all the young music student who have been rehearsing for this event.

May I remind the organizers of the event that we are celebrating jazz music, an art form based on spontaneous improvisation?

What better challenge to the Jazz Festival than for the headlining band to perform in the jazz tradition?

I'm reminded of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" recording session, where none of the musicians were allowed rehearsal time, nor foreknowledge going into the studio. Yet a jazz masterpiece resulted from the sessions.

With some artistic courage, innovation and the support of SCV jazz fans, the 34th annual R.K. Downs Jazz Festival could be the most memorable to date.

C'mon SCV, let's rally to the cause!

In the name of community tradition and the tradition of jazz ... the show must go on!


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