See article from Fairfield Daily Republic

September 7th, 2018


Band camp readies students for jazz festival

VACAVILLE A program that began 12 years ago, with a nominal grant, continues today with funding from new sources.

The Vaca 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 years camp attendees. The trumpet player watched her older brother master the same instrument and play in the Jazz Festival.

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. Shes in her high school jazz band, which will also perform at the festival.

Being around people who have more experience, Im 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. Hes 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. Hes 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.

                                          Im sharing the music I love, Williams said.

At the same time hes 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 Id 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 Wests 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, visit

Daily Republic Link:

The Vaca Jazz Society is a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation (ID# 20-0198796) dedicated to developing young musicians, providing family-friendly entertainment and expanding the Jazz culture in Vacaville and the surrounding communities. Donations are fully tax deductible.

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