Reporter Jackie Burrell notes that it’s not just Lamorinda’s hills that are alive with the sound of music. Its town squares, Veterans Hall, schoolyards and jazz clubs ring too.
The American Music Conference and NAMM Foundation just named Lafayette one of the nation’s “Best 100 Communities for Music Education.” That’s no surprise to the students and parents who frequent the bandrooms at Stanley Middle School and Acalanes High. Credit goes, says Lafayette parent Randi Pines, to music directors such as Stanley music director Bob Athayde, and hundreds of other people “whose dedication, energy, and vision have made this community so musically enriched.”
It’s a legacy that plays out, literally, at Town Hall Theater and the Acalanes Performing Arts Center next week when the multi-generational Lafayette Jazz Festival opens.
Lamorinda teenagers will be playing alongside such jazz luminaries as singer Madeline Eastman and the Dick Hindman Trio, and the March 11 performance features the Contra Costa County Honor Jazz Bands, which include students from Acalanes and Campolindo High Schools. Among the honor band lineup: 16-year-old Campolindo trumpeter Aaron Bahr, who just returned from Grammy Week in L.A. where he performed with the Grammy All-Stars.
What the American Music Conference didn’t mention among its kudos is that Lamorinda is also home to scores of professional grown-up musicians, including musicians from the San Francisco Symphony, Opera and Ballet orchestras. Among them: violist Pamela Striplen-Freund and clarinetist Anthony Striplen, whose Gold Coast Chamber Players season opens at the Bentley Theater this Saturday.