The Yuba College Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble, both conducted by Dr. Allan Miller, performed at the Yuba College Theater on Thursday, October 30, to a packed house. The concert kicked off just after 8 p.m. with the Symphonic Band hammering through Henry Fillmore’s “Americans We” (March). The Symphonic Band followed with five other pieces of varying style.
The Moorside March from “A Moorside Suite” by Gustav Holst and arranged by Gordon Jacob was a nice piece that began beautifully with the woodwind section and was answered by the horns.
The band followed Moorside March with selections from “The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Loyd Webber and arranged by Warren Baker. The Symphonic Band did justice to the famous musical despite the woodwinds being slightly out of tune at the beginning of the medley. They played Phantom favorites such as “Think of Me,” “Angel of Music,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “All I Ask of You,” “The Point of No Return” and “The Music of the Night.” Dr. Miller finished the piece by turning to the crowed wearing a Phantom mask.
Miller and the Symphonic Band then played a short Disneyland Medley with the songs “Zipa De Do Da,” “It’s a Small World,” “Hi Ho” and “Whistle A Happy Tune.”
After that Dr. Miller explained that the next piece, “I am” by Andrew Boysen, Jr., was written in memory of Lynn Jones, a high school band student who was tragically killed in an auto accident on a foggy winter morning. The song was a hauntingly beautiful piece that began with a soft clarinet solo. Members of the band sang the words “I am” in sections, giving the piece a dark, droning quality.
After one last march and a brief intermission the Jazz Ensemble took the stage and swung the night away. Dr. Miller joined the band on trombone, conducting from his seat. The jazz band put on an awesome performance, playing jazz greats like “Prelude to a Kiss,” “You Do Something to Me” and “Stardust.”
They opened with a spicy rendition of “Mambo Jambo.” Guitarist Larry Garvin performed a blazing guitar solo during the tune that had my fingers aching to hit the fretboard.
Bonny Miller lent her amazing vocal talent to the songs “St. Louis Blues,” in which Dr. Allan Miller contributed a smoking trombone solo, and “How Long Has This Been Going on.”
Cookie Molina’s bari-sax solo during “Prelude to a Kiss” was great but must have been tiring to perform.
The final piece, “Big Mama Cass,” was a good way to end the night. It was a funky, rockin’ jam. You could almost see Jake and Elroy getting down on the stage. The song featured fantastic solos by nearly every member of the ensemble. The guitar solo in particular was down right jamming, taking the earlier guitar solos to a whole new level. The Jazz Ensemble finished to a standing ovation.
The Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensamble’s next performance will be Friday, December 5 at 8pm in the Yuba College Theater during their Winter Instrumental.