Campana Jazz Festival showcases the talent of Amador’s Jazz Bands


Alex Wu

After all is said and done, the Campana Jazz Festival allowed students of different bands to enjoy playing jazz together. 

Abigail Kent, Staff Writer

On February 12th, over 30 schools and 54 ensembles assembled at Amador and performed in the 46th annual Campana Jazz Festival. The festival is a tribute to jazz as an art form and is named in honor of Jim Campana, a previous Amador director.

“We start [preparations] in August, and there’s a lot of background work that runs all the way through to this day. Set up is last night, and then it’s a fun day for all,” said Stapleton.

For a festival only spanning the course of a little less than twelve hours, event organizers invested mountains of effort into the event. Especially with COVID complications, the help from the 200 organizers and parent volunteers was instrumental to the festival’s success. Still, the jazz program had to sacrifice the usual jazz workshops and awards ceremony.

“We did make some changes for COVID, we usually have an awards show at the end of the day in the theater… We announce the awards and scholarships. We didn’t have that this year because we didn’t want the bands mixing,” said Marie Stapleton, Festival Chair.

Volunteers sell snacks for players and audience members. (Alex Wu)

Not only did the festival organizers work hard to put the event together, students and band directors also spent many hours practicing and fine tuning their pieces. 

“After winter break, around the first week back, we got our songs,” said Stanley Pang (‘24).

These months of practice mean the difference between a beautiful performance and one riddled with mistakes. Especially because many students choose to experiment with a different instrument when trying out for one of the jazz options at Amador, the hours of practice are even more important.

“Our entire trombone section is made up of people who picked up a trombone just for Jazz C, so none of us have played the trombone before and I think it’s kind of funny,” said Elizabeth Hong (‘24). 

Amador had three jazz bands: Jazz A, Jazz B, and Jazz Workshop, or Jazz C. Jazz A is a class, while the other two bands practice after school. Under the direction of Jonathan Grantham, Edwin Cordoba, and Mark Aubel, jazz veterans and new members were able to play together to honor the jazz style.

“Campana’s just fun, it’s very enjoyable and you can get inspired by a lot of other schools and other musicians and it helps you improve in general,” said Anthony Cardenas (‘24).