Every day beginning on Friday, I was greeting and moving volunteers about from 7:45 a.m. up until the final horn blew at 10:30 p.m.
It was the Next Generation Jazz Festival where young people from middle school, high school and college aged music geniuses stepped up on the stage to play and honor America’s traditional music: JAZZ.
This event brought up memories of the early 80s when my son, Ronnie Crocker, the Aptos High School Jazz drummer, led the band to finish with high honors. This band, under the direction of Don Keller, got to travel to the top Jazz Festivals in Europe, not to mention the right to play at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, where Clint Eastwood serves on the board.
I had a part back then in raising the money for the Aptos High School Jazz trip.
Never mind what shape I was in at the time, it was an honor to help these young folks get the dream of their lives. Many of the students from that era went on to become professionals; some well known, and others playing on professional stages.
I won’t go into the detail of Ronnie’s life beyond this, but only to say he is an awesome rhythm keeper, and is immersed in music and the arts. He is a volunteer at the Kuumbwa Jazz place in Santa Cruz and during the weekend festival, a worker from Kuumbwa told me how much they appreciate Ron’s help during evening performances. I can only feel blessed that people see his good heart.
This weekend, teenagers, being teenagers, some gangly, some teasing others in their group, and some starry-eyed, stepped up to the stage and performed magic. These young people are indeed gifted.
Everyone of the volunteers I had arranged for this event were diligent workers, and flexible beyond expectations. They were willing to be moved about from one station to another, and sometimes asked to just go in and listen to the music.
I didn’t want anyone to leave without experiencing the best of the best.