Jazzy Xmas Gives Kids Music and More
By Dianne Anderson
Love jazz? Love kids?
Standout musicians are bringing their sparkle center stage at the upcoming Jazzy Christmas concert to help support the muse for some of Santa Ana’s most promising young violinists.
In the spirit of the season, jazz enthusiasts and the entire community are invited out for an evening featuring top of the line entertainers who are up for a good cause. Among them, internationally acclaimed vocalists, Alva Copeland and Kathryn Bailey Cunningham will perform. Rhythm guitarist Yohei Nakamura, who has played the lead guitar with Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder is featured. Donald Hayes, who has worked with Beyonce and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, is on saxophone. Tateng Katindig on Piano, Reggie Johnson on drums, and Grammy-award winning Reggie Goodjoin is music director and bassist.
On Sunday, December 16, New Hope Presbyterian Church presents Jazzy Christmas to be held at 191 North Orange Street in Orange starting at 6:00 p.m.
Over the years, their jazzy kids received firsthand mentoring and on-site tutors with the likes of Sheila E, and her father, Pete Escovedo. The kids have tasted South African beats, Brazil and Argentina through the rhythm of Munyungo Jackson, who has played percussion with Stevie Wonder and Sting. Jackson is also featured this year at the concert.
Pastor Chineta Goodjoin said the community turnout for the event over the past seven years has been strong, and the program’s violin studio is unsurpassed in quality mentoring support for the kids. Part of the proceeds from the annual event sustain their music program hosted through the church to help children who would otherwise go without violin lessons and music lessons.
“The community loves jazz, we love Gospel, so we do this Gospel jazzy Christmas every year,” she said. “They come out, and they play their hearts out, and that’s what Christmas is supposed to be about, giving and sharing.”
Through the Music Enrichment Program, students receive scholarships for string lessons, and all costs are covered for instruction and instruments. She said Jazzy Christmas has been important to support the under-served students in the Santa Ana Unified School District.
The kids have also been keeping a full holiday itinerary. In November they performed at the Town and Country Nursing Home. They are performing at the Santa Ana Zoo on December 16, and the Mission Viejo Mall on December 23.
“It’s a busy group of kids who are doing excellently,” she said. “We have about 13 kids in that studio right now and they play throughout Southern California.”
This year, the program has been excited to be a Heart String partner of the Pacific Symphony, which provides violins for their kids, and a seat at symphony events.
“We’re just pleased to be able to give them the opportunity to learn to perform and to be enriched by the different genres of music. This is just a wonderful cultural experience that they get. It comes out of opportunities like Jazzy Christmas.”
Nearly all the children are predominantly African American and Latino, and are coming from low to moderate income homes.
Goodjoin said the experience is important to support their growth in academics, and self-esteem, and while every child may not become a professional violinist, there are several other aspects of learning that go beyond the rhythm of the beat.
Most of all, through the program, she said they learn about discipline. The seeds of commitment are planted.
“It makes a difference with how they work with the team, or how they work in corporate America. All of that is part of being in an orchestra, and music consortium because you learn so many skills that help you succeed in life,” she said.
To support Jazzy Christmas, see http://mynewhopepres.org/