Carlmont gets jazzy at CSM


The Carlmont Jazz Ensemble has 19 members this year, many of whom are newcomers. The band looks forward to performing for the first time this year after having 11 out of 21 members graduate in 2015.

Aria Frangos, Scot Scoop Editor

“I’m nervous and excited about my first performance with the jazz band, but I think it will be a really cool experience to play at the festival,” said freshman Jayla Chee.

Nov. 20 is the annual Jazz Festival at College of San Mateo, and Carlmont Jazz Ensemble’s first performance of the year. Jazz Ensemble will be performing along with 17 other top high school jazz bands, and guest artist Dmitri Matheny will be featured playing flugelhorn with the CSM Monday Evening Big Band.

The CSM Jazz Festival is a tradition spanning 19 years, always with a focus on musical education rather than competition. Originally, the festival was a small affair including the ten high school jazz bands by invitation. The bands would perform and judges would give clinics to each onstage, which was then followed by a guest performance from a local musician.

“The original intention of the festival was and continues to be focused on education,” said festival organizer and CSM Professor Mike Galisatus. “It’s an opportunity early in the year for bands to get a chance to perform together and hear what they should work on so they can improve for later competitive festivals.”

As the festival continued, more and more bands were interested in attending. The spirit of the festival remained the same in its lack of ratings and critical competition, but the growth in attendance required a change in format, to individual band clinics in another room instead of holding them onstage.

Previous guest artists include Tower of Power trumpeters Greg Adams and Sal Cracchiolo, guitarist Bruce Forman, saxophonist Tom Scott, pianist Taylor Eigsti, and Carlmont graduate cellist and trombonist Dana Leong.

“We’re very lucky and grateful that our guest artists have been generous in being involved in the festival, and that CSM has been generous in paying for these amazing guest visits, because it’s a great experience to have them come out and play,” said Galisatus.

Carlmont has been involved in the CSM Jazz Festival for over ten years, and the performance is a highlight of the year for many musicians in the jazz ensemble.

Senior Casey Armstrong, who has been going to the festival with the jazz band since freshman year, said, “The CSM festival is a really fun performance because it’s such a great cultural experience to hear such great musicians and great bands. The guest artists are always a highlight not only because they’re always amazing to listen to, but that it’s such a small setting that it’s really personal and you can ask them questions about their music.”

previously published in the Carlmont Instrumental Music Newsletter