VACAVILLE — A program that began 12 years ago, with a nominal
grant, continues today with funding from new sources.
Jazz Society offers a weekly band camp for aspiring jazz
musicians that kicks off just as school resumes and wraps up
with a performance at the annual Vacaville Jazz Festival.
Julianna Ernie, a freshman at Vacaville High School, is one
of this year’s camp attendees. The trumpet player watched her
older brother master the same instrument – and play in the Jazz
Julianna Ernie picked up trumpet after watching her brother
play the instrument. (Amy Maginnis-Honey/Daily Republic)
Participating has earned her a new band family – and the
chance to try new musical exploration. She’s in her high school
jazz band, which will also perform at the festival.
“Being around people who have more experience, I’m exposed to
more difficult pieces,” Ernie said before practice began
Wednesday evening in the Vacaville High band room.
Trombonist Cristian Reyna, a senior at Will C. Wood High
School, participated in the band camp in 2017. He’s learning new
music as well as jazz theory and improvisation.
“It made me a better player,” Reyna said of band camp.
Senior Master Sgt. Mike Williams, of the Air Force Band of
the Golden West, lends his time and talent to the camp. He’s
done it for four years. Williams in past years has had as many
as 18 students in the band camp. This year there are about 12,
who are in eighth through 12th grades.
“I’m sharing the music I love,” Williams said.
At the same time he’s seeing the future as the community may
recognize the musicians as the “kid in the neighborhood you see
around playing jazz,” he said.
Williams teaches them a cross-section of different jazz
styles and often brings in fellow members from the Air Force
Band of the Golden West to work with the youth. His fellow
military musicians held a jazz clinic with youth Tuesday night.
“If I was a kid learning jazz, I imagine Mike being the
person I’d love to teach me,” said Keith Stout, who organizes
the annual jazz festival.
The Vaca Jazz Festival kicks off Sept. 14 and runs through
Sept. 16 in downtown Vacaville and the Nut Tree Plaza. More than
30 groups are represented.
The United States Air Force Band of the Golden West’s
Commanders Jazz Ensemble will wrap up the free three-day event
at 6 p.m. Sept. 16.
For a complete list of performers, times and locations,