Hot Java Cool Jazz performance earns standing ovation

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Hot Java Cool Jazz sold out the Paramount Theatre last Friday, with more than 3,000 people in attendance.

This marked the 20th annual celebration of the event and featured performances by MTHS Jazz 1, Edmonds Woodway High School, Mount Si High School, Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School.

Given that this year marked two decades since the beginning of the event, band director Darin Faul decided to do something special for Jazz 1’s performance.

“I enjoy the, ‘What are we going to do make ourselves just a little bit different?’ aspect of [Hot Java Cool Jazz],’” Faul said. “This year I decided to do something special because it is the 20th anniversary. I created a composition contest for our graduates and received several compositions back. They were written specifically for our band.”

The winning song was “Joy” by alumni Bryce Call, who received $500 and the guarantee that his composition would be played at Hot Java Cool Jazz. The songs “Hymn to Freedom” arranged by Mat Montgomery and “‘Fraid Not” by Arthur Sigami were also featured in the set.

Call, Montgomery and Sigami all played at previous Hot Java Cool Jazz concerts. This year, they were able to attend the concert and experience it from the audience rather than the stage to listen to the band play their compositions.

“It’s always interesting for me to hear others playing my pieces, because as a composer spending so much time on these charts you get emotionally invested in them,” Sigami said. “Hearing them come to life is an experience all in its own. The band did a wonderful job interpreting and performing my piece, and they should be proud of their performance.”

The band closed off their performance with a striking rendition of “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix, earning themselves a standing ovation.

“It’s always a great crowd. I always feel a lot of love coming from the audience up onto the stage. And I know it is a lot of Mountlake Terrace people, but there are people who aren’t connected to our community, too,” Faul said. “It’s just a great feeling.”

Mountlake Terrace has been participating in Hot Java Cool Jazz since 1995, with the exception of one year.

Through the concert, MTHS Jazz gains community support for the band program, as well as significant funding. Since the beginning of this event, over $400,000 have been raised. Last year alone MTHS brought in a check for $12,000.

“Last year I had a lady contact me who just wanted to give a donation to the school.  A big donation,” Faul said.

This event, sponsored by Starbucks, has been hosted at the Paramount for the past several years. Previous locations consisted of the Moore Theatre and Benaroya Hall, but as the crowd grew, the venue needed to as well.

“It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It sold out faster this year than ever before,” Faul said.

He considers the event important, not only to his jazz students, but also to the community.

“So, why else is it important events like this continue to be held? Because nobody listens to jazz or big band jazz. It is good for people to be exposed to it. Young people, old people, everybody. It’s a cross generational thing.”

 

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