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On the Town: Burbank high school's jazz ensemble keeps things cool

September 18, 2013|By David Laurell
  • Dance instructor Linda Shoemake helped students, parents and supporters get up to speed with their salsa skills at last week's fundraiser.
Dance instructor Linda Shoemake helped students, parents… (Photo by David Laurell )

Perhaps it was the mix of cool jazz and hot salsa that pushed aside the recent heat spell and made for a perfect late-summer evening as John Burroughs High School's Instrumental Music Assn. presented its annual Salsa Under the Stars fundraiser last week.

Staged in the school's quad, the event gave students, parents and supporters the opportunity to spread out their blankets and enjoy home-packed picnics or dinner provided by Tacos Maximo, brush up on their salsa skills by taking a dance lesson with Linda Shoemake, and then use those freshly enhanced skills to dance to the music of the John Burroughs High School Jazz Ensemble.

Sponsored by the Arturo Sandoval Institute and former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos, the evening raised funds needed to keep the school's music program afloat.

“As the media capital, Burbank is a community that understands training in the arts not only sharpens the mind and fulfills the creative spirit, but can also lead to a career,” Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) told the assemblage before the evening of spicy salsa standards and swinging, syncopated sambas began.

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Along with a performance by the school's dance captains Ali Rodriguez, Carley Mashore, Caitlinn Concepcion and Rina Cabrera, the evening also spotlighted the talents of musicians Paulina Arango, Tyler Leiws, Chris Sacha, Jonah Stoffers, Nick Van Loo, Nathan Bradley, Max Dearth, Joey DiLiberto, Miles Gonzalez, Dominic Aguas, Griffin Armstroff, Dylan Dovdston, Cullan Ryan, C.J. Bejasa, Christian Dorado, Nina Cavalheiro, Cloe Clarke, Josh Turner, Kobi Abcede and Gabe Trevizo under the direction of the school's band director, Tana Barnett.

“Last year's Salsa Under the Stars was a spectacular success — an event that featured both the energetic live music of our jazz band and a rare chance for families to dance together to the music made by the student musicians. This year looks to be even bigger and better,” said Barnett.

The evening of music, chaired by Suzanne Ryan, was made possible by members of her committee that include Sandie Seaver, Amy Navarette, Michelle Turner, Lorna Lopez, Yvonne Seta, Frank Olivas, Bruce Minniear, David Bradley, Frank DiLiberto, Jon King, Geof Ryan, Maria DiLiberto, Teresa Jung, Debra MacRae, Deb Olivas, Amy Dovaston, Jennifer Garduno, Mageara Cameron-Spell, Anna Calimlim, Sandy Acevedo, Kevin Pinnt, Nick Garduno, Brian Seaver, Colin Seaver, Diana Noel and Robert Jung, who serves as the president of the JBHS Instrumental Music Assn.

For more information on the John Burroughs instrumental program and future events, visit their website at www.jbhsima.org.

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DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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