All that jazz

First Jazz in the Heights Festival beats rain by moving indoors

The Magnet Tribune: Anna Davenport
Texas Jazz All Stars perform in the auditorium.

Jesus Hernandez, Staff Writer

Rain didn’t stop Laredoans from visiting and having a good time at VMT’s first Jazz in the Heights music festival on March 10.

Several musicians and bands came together to showcase Jazz Music in a two-part event.

The first part of the event took place in the auditorium where several jazz musicians played for VMT students during the school day. The second part of the event took place in the evening where groups played music on the second floor of the A building, amphitheater, and in the auditorium.

I really love jazz music and it just brings happiness to me. I love it.”

— Enrique Garza

Dixieland Band performed at 6 p.m. in A building, followed by the VMT Alumni Group at 6:40 in the amphitheater. The Laredo Educators Jazz Band performed in the auditorium at 7 p.m. followed by the Texas Jazz All Stars at 8:15 p.m. Dr. Maurice Portis of Corpus Christi was a special guest performer at the festival.

Visitors enjoyed the music and said they wish to come back for more next year.

“Excellent!” Cynthia Perez said.

“It’s amazing. I really love jazz music and it just brings happiness to me. I love it,” Enrique Garza said.

One the other side of the campus in the cafeteria, fine arts programs had their booths with a variety of foods being sold.

One student who was working at the theatre arts booth said the jazz festival should be an annual festival.

“I think it’s really fun and great, and I just really think we should expand it. We’re in a really small facility but I believe we should make it bigger so a lot more people can fit in and a lot of people did come especially for the live music,” sophomore April Salazar said. “Just like we have a Hispanic festival every year I believe we should have the jazz festival every year and we should invite more groups like a lot of local singers.”

Another student said she finds the jazz festival an amazing opportunity to get to know more about jazz.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know so much about jazz and to get familiar with the style. It’s just a wonderful experience,” senior student Armando Gallego said.

Dr. Christopher Buckley, a member of the U.S. Army Band in Virginia, said he really enjoyed the jazz festival. He was in town for a ceremony where he was honored as a Mustang Legend.

“I think the jazz festival is awesome. There’s a lot of great music, musicians from all over. They’re incredible musicians from the Vidal M. Treviño magnet school, San Antonio and even some people from New York City are over here. Music is great for everybody especially everyone in Laredo loves music and jazz is incredible music. The weather is great and everyone is having a good time,” Buckley said.

For VMT teachers, for this being their first jazz festival, they made positive remarks about the event.

“It’s great, and the musicians are doing a great job. We should definitely host another jazz festival next year. So far it’s a success and I think we should build on that,” social studies teacher Gilberto Hernandez said.

Alicia Cruz Vidaurri, AP English IV teacher, said she also enjoyed the festival.

“It’s great and incredible; great music,” Vidaurri said.

Despite having rained prior to the event forcing it indoors, one could see visitors dancing, having the time of their lives, and some even said the weather was great. A few visitors said they have never liked jazz music but for one, coming and hearing the music at the festival changed her perspective.

“I do not like jazz music but so far I’m enjoying the music,” sophomore Jennifer Cortez said.

John Reimund, VMT low brass instructor and who played at the festival, said the jazz festival needs to be an annual thing.

To me, the jazz festival should be all about the performances, the music and the musicians sharing that art form with the students and the community.”

— Ric Cortez

“I think it’s a fantastic thing; it’s an idea that’s been long overdue. I think the response has been tremendous just watching the joy of the audiences for all the performances it’s worth it, so I hope we do this again,” Reimund said after performing. “I think this should be annual thing, every year. There’s a lot of talent here in this town and it needs to be showcased and this school needs to be showcased for what it does every chance we can.”

Ric Cortez, VMT guitar instructor and event organizer, said the jazz festival was a success and hopes VMT will host another festival next year.

“It was a great success. The music was fantastic and the invited guests played wonderfully. It was like a real jazz festival; it was fantastic. We had food booths, everything I thought went well and it was pretty well attended,” Cortez said. “It was great that we had everybody’s support and the funding. To me, the jazz festival should be all about the performances, the music and the musicians sharing that art form with the students and the community.”