Lamorinda was a buzz of activity last night as the seventh annual Lafayette Jazz Festival opened at Acalanes Performing Arts Center, Campo’s spring musical “Hello Dolly” debuted in Moraga, and the sound of dribbling basketballs and joyous cheers echoed off the walls at Madigan Gym at St. Mary’s College.
Cheers erupted at the jazz fest too as longtime KCBS anchor — and beloved Rossmoor Big Band crooner — Al Hart received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Generations in Jazz Foundation, then stepped to the mic to sing “What a Wonderful World.” The audience got sniffly after legendary arranger and Rossmoor Big Band co-director Frank Como exchanged beaming grins and hugs with Stanley eighth grader Erin Grant. The young tenor saxophonist had performed two jazz classics artfully arranged just for her by the now-retired Como, who spent 20 years as Lionel Hampton’s arranger.
But the best sight-em came afterward. Ripping off cummerbunds with one hand, whipping out cell phones with the other, the younger members of the Rossmoor Big Band, which features teen and veteran musicians performing side-by-side, raced offstage to get the lowdown on the Acalanes basketball team and the NorCal Division III quarterfinals at St. Mary’s. More cheers, this time backstage: the NCS champions had just triumphed over Weston Ranch, 50-47. Next up: Acalanes vs. Sacramento High at St. Mary’s this Saturday at 7 p.m. (Tickets: $5 students, $9 general admission) What a wonderful world …
– Jackie Burrell