Jazz Cabaret minimized to concert and reception

February 9, 2018 — by Chelsea Leung

The Jazz Cabaret, renamed this year to “For the Love of Jazz,” will take place on Feb. 10 in the McAfee Center from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

In the past, the Cabaret was held in the Large Gym as an event with food, live performances and dancing. However, this year, the event has been converted into a stage performance and lobby reception.

Associate band director Jason Shiuan said that the change was due to the gym’s often being occupied by sports, and because the music department wants to restore the Jazz Cabaret’s previous appeal to the community.

When Shiuan attended the school, many people from the community would attend the Jazz Cabaret, even if they were not involved or related to someone in the music programs at Saratoga High or Redwood Middle School. These last few years, however, the music department has noticed that the Cabaret has become just like another concert, where parents come to watch their child perform and then leave.

“We’re thinking of ways to reverse that and bring the Cabaret back to what it used to be,” Shiuan said. “People used to come to have a fun night, rather than just coming to attend another concert.”

To spice up the concert this year, concert-goers will be able to purchase chocolate kisses for performers and participate in a raffle, with prizes from local businesses. The prizes will include food donations for the reception gift certificates from places like Trader Joe’s and Loli & Pop and art pieces donated from local artists such as DisNOYland.

Though the department is unsure of what Jazz Cabaret will be like in the future, Shiuan said that future Cabarets will be inspired by more informal events like “Jazz on the Plazz,” an outdoor summer event in Los Gatos.

Because the Cabaret will take place in the McAfee Center this year, there is no available space for an actual Cabaret’s signature dancing. Yet parts of the tradition remain: Saratoga High students will don their signature jazz uniforms of all black with colorful ties or scarves, and Redwood jazz students will dress the same except with electric blue ties.

As always, choir and jazz bands from both Saratoga High and Redwood will perform. SHS’s repertoire this year includes a Latin-style song, “Blue Bossa,” as well as a jazz arrangement of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Additionally, junior Matthew Graham, who plays trumpet, arranged “O Tannenbaum” from Vince Guraldi’s version in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

In addition to the major changes, a new aspect this year is that SHS’s jazz band now has an electric guitarist, junior Daniel Kraft, who moved from Maryland to Saratoga this year.

“Guitar is a common jazz instrument, so I was surprised there wasn’t already one here when I came,” Kraft said.

Graham, who has never played with a jazz guitarist before, said that he is happy Kraft’s “crazy good” musical skills add new elements to the band’s sound and rhythm; it is a positive change among the others this year. Though he understands the need for modification to the overall event, he will miss old elements from previous years.

“Performing is always fun, but I’ll miss doing goofy dances with the music teachers as other bands performed,” Graham said.


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