By Laurie Maemura
In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, City College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management (CAHM) and the CCSF Jazz Musician’s Club held a joint event in the Pierre Coste Room on Apr. 13, 2017.
The culinary department was inspired to cook cuisine from New Orleans and asked the CCSF Jazz Musician’s Club to play French Quarter jazz songs since the city is the birthplace of jazz.
With 30 people in attendance a combination of students, department faculty, and family members were present to support. Nine tables were set with black linens, gold, green,and purple fake coins and a bowl of nuts on top. Black, silver and gold balloons were clipped with French Quarter street signs on the walls.
A photo booth area with New Orlean’s costume gear was available to wear for photographs and an area with a ‘what is one thing on your bucket list?’ On the menu, New Orleans staples of grits, muffuletta, desserts and apricot cardamom drinks were made-to-order by the culinary students.
As the audience dined on the delicious food jazz music played over the loud chatter. The jazz event was an assignment for the class Event Planning 208 which combined students from all the paths and covered the extensive production of catering.
“I try to replicate the real world work when they leave City College. Every semester, former students email me saying the terms and forms I’ve taught helped them for their current catering job,” faculty instructor Barbara Hines said.
But being a caterer is not as easy as many think. Distinct responsibilities must be delegated in order to drive an efficient workflow with multiple teammates and overlapping of duties should never occur, according to Haines.
Dressed in formal wear, City College student Adrianne Bisco studies hotel management and represented as the host of the event periodically checking in with Hines and her classmates to verify the event will go as planned. “It’s so fun. We set up a budget months ahead and follow our project timeline. Everything from the balloons to cooked foods to linens were either made, bought, and ordered. It’s not make believe, it’s legit,” she said.
As the audience dined on the food, they clapped when members of the jazz club made a grand entrance to begin the show with the famous romantic song, “When The Saints Go Marching In” by jazz musicians Katharine Purvis and James Milton.
In their first set of five songs, each musician had his or her own talented solo as the audience danced in their seats. The band covered songs by Edith Piaf, Marguerite Monnot, Sidney Bircher, W.C. Handy, Peter Chatman, Duke Pearson, Ben Bernie and Eddie DeLange.
Ranging backgrounds from a variety of brass and string instruments, the 12 members played in unison at times and gave spotlight solos to each member. Individuals who played drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, vocals, saxophone, clarinet, trombone and French horn were all present during the performance.
The jazz members included Adina Pernell, Laetitia Pulpito, Ferdinand Hartanto, Dianne Douglas, Van Mares, Elijah Pontecorvo, John Lou, Megan Wegmann, Samara Bennett, Alex Balmaceda, Tsubasa Ohkawa, Frank Phipps and Kastumi Asazawa.
The newly fresh club president Wegmann who played the keys said it was only this semester when Music 13A class was cut from the program and turned into a student club, naming it the CCSF Jazz Musician’s Club. “It wasn’t a choice, it was bound to happen,” she said.
Like the caterers with their responsibilities, Wegmann’s is to facilitate, grow, and learn with the musicians. “We collab. Everyone has a say, a responsibility,” Wegmann said.
Looking ahead, she would like to bring in local jazz musicians and hold educational workshops for the members and anyone else interested in learning about jazz. When asked about how she feels when she hears or plays jazz music, she said “excitement, tickled by the little jokes.”
Both first timers of City College club events that incorporated education and music, Kristie Barchas, girlfriend of bassist Elijah Pontecorvo and City College alumni ’09 Adriane Pontecorvo, sat at one of the crowded tables. “The way they set up, food tickets, marching into a packed room was great, friendly, and enthusiastic. [The musicians] were having good energy and it’s fun when they improv,” Pontecorvo said as Barchas agreed.
When asked if she recommended events on campus to other students, Adriane Pontecorvo said, “people are in a wide range of different phases in school and with life experiences. I understand it can be difficult to attend.”
City College Computer and Informational Technology professor Bill Hong and his wife Pam were in attendance to support the culinary department. “We have creative and innovative students.” He believes the fundraiser is special to the major and department but wishes the department to continue to do more outreach and publicity since some “students don’t know about it.”
When jazz club advisor David Hardiman Jr. plays or listens to jazz music he said, “I feel great. Very free. Expressive. Open.” His favorite jazz influences are Louie Armstrong, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Freddie Hubbard.
Hardiman Jr. has been playing the trumpet for 54 years and counting and was a long-time trumpet player in St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band. He toured European countries such as Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, England for six months in 2003. His favorite jazz influences are Louie Armstrong, Fitzgerald and Freddie Hubbard.
You can catch the CCSF Jazz Musician’s Club at the Spring Jazz Concert on May 9, 2017 at the Diego Theater with special guest George Spencer.