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Second Jazz in the Heights features local, out-of-town musicians (package)

The Magnet Tribune: Anna Davenport
VMT's special invited guests, from left, Trent Spofford, Rolando Morejon, and Jonathan Alexander perform in the auditorium at Jazz in the Heights.

Rachell Ramirez

Lauren Medellin, Staff Writer

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The Magnet Tribune: Anna Davenport
VMT’s special invited guests, from left, Trent Spofford, Rolando Morejon, and Jonathan Alexander perform in the auditorium at Jazz in the Heights.

“I enjoyed hearing the crowd’s response after performing with the Laredo Jazz Collective Orchestra,” said Juan Sosa.

Sosa, band director at Nixon High School, said he hadn’t played in a festival since his college years.

“I hadn’t performed in a jazz festival for more than 20 years. It was great. The musicians that played were very talented. I’m glad to be a part of the Jazz in the Heights,” he said. “It was truly uplifting.”

Sosa was referring to VMT’s 2nd annual Jazz in the Heights event on April 19, held at the school.

School Director Dr. Martha Villarreal explained her role in the event.

“This is my child. I started the jazz festival 2 years ago. It was something that I dreamt about. Once we moved into the new building I knew it was time to bring this festival together,” she said.

“The first time I walked into VMT I said I’m going to put together a jazz festival because jazz is my favorite kind of music. Once we moved into this new building I knew it was time to bring this festival together,” she said.

Villarreal said groups that are playing are former VMT students which she says is amazing because they started here, and they’re still playing.

“Many professional musicians haven’t forgotten VMT. They came back to show their talent to the children,” she said.

Music Instructor Ric Cortez, who led in organizing the event, explained what went into making it successful.

“My first consideration was to get a group of musicians together to be the headlining group. Last year around the time of the previous VMT jazz festival, I met an extraordinary violinist at a wedding that I was booked to play. I felt that I need to book him for the 2018 Jazz in the Heights so I have been planning and talking to him about it since then,” Cortez said.

“Booking the musicians was the first order of business and it takes a lot of paperwork to get that done,” Cortez continued. “Once I had a working list of people who were available as well as compatible, then it was organizing the various performances. I mostly conferred with (VMT music instructors) Robert Lopez, John Reimund and Dr. Mary Grace Carroll about this. Mr. Reimund took charge organizing the music and musicians for the Dixieland Band which he later named The Dixieland Diversion. I also spoke to Carlos Morales (VMT alum 2001) to put together an Alumni Jazz Combo. Mr. Lopez took the reins of the Laredo Jazz Collective Orchestra, which is the jazz big band that performed on the auditorium stage. That group consisted of about 20 musicians that included various music teachers and VMT Alumni from all over town.”

Cortez added that planning included food and other booths, security, promotion, and advertising, and obtaining accommodations for the guest musicians.

 

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Second Jazz in the Heights features local, out-of-town musicians (package)