High audience engagement at Jazz Cabaret makes for successful event

February 12, 2020 — by Jonathan Li

More than 600 people attended last Saturday as the high school and the middle school bands teamed up for Jazz Cabaret in the music building. 

This year, Redwood’s jazz band and choir performed alongside Saratoga’s Jazz 1, the Advanced Jazz Band, a student rock band called Akshar and the Firecrackers, both concert and chamber choir and several solo singers like senior Krisha Minocha and sophomores Cindy Jin and Naisha Agrawal.

Jazz Cabaret has traditionally been held in the Large Gym, but now takes place in the music building and largely attracts an audience connected to the schools. 

“Years ago, it was an event for the entire city and community,” music director Jason Shiuan said. “We want to bring that back.”

Unlike many other events the music program holds throughout the year, Jazz Cabaret is not an event for fundraising.

“In a way, it funds itself,” Shiuan said. “The tickets pay for the food and the decorations. We don’t make any profit.”

During the event, audience members could listen to music or dance while enjoying refreshments and snacks.

This year, Jazz Cabaret offered various choir performances and student-run performances, with Saratoga’s Jazz 1 and Combo opening the event and the Advanced Jazz Ensemble closing it. 

“It went well,” senior saxophonist Alex Mah said. “Lots of people attended to show their support for the choir and jazz groups.”

Mah said that the audience interacted with the performances much more this year — taking photos and dancing to the music. Where last year the event suffered from a power outage after a circuit overloaded and short circuited, there were no technical difficulties this year.

“In some ways, it went better than last year,” Mah said. “There was a lot more engagement through a number of tunes, and it was good to see several traditions being continued, like the conga line and the jazz combos.”

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Due to the lightning complex that occurred in the week of Aug.17, Santa Clara County is currently surrounded by wildfires, covering the city of Saratoga in heavy smoke. The air quality was in the range of 100 to 200 for the past five days, forcing SHS to close down. Photo by Selina Chen.


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