Who doesn’t love Jazz Fest in New Orleans? For me, it’s the very best special event in a city that’s filled with fun and excitement all year round.
Delgado’s jazz band has performed at Jazz Fest since 1996, according to Dr. Peter Cho, who directs the group and heads the Music Department.
This year, the Delgado Community College Jazz Ensemble takes the Lagniappe Stage at Jazz Fest on Thursday, May 2, just before noon.
I asked Dr. Cho a few questions about Jazz Fest and Delgado.
Q. Has anyone famous (musician/celebrity, local or national) sat in with you or watched your performance?
A. You never know who will be watching, or coming up on stage with us.
Q. How does it feel to know that you are on the line-up with so many other talented musicians? Do you experience nervousness, elation etc.?
A. For the musicians, there is a sense of accomplishment, since they are sharing the venue with so many famous musicians. Also, for many of our students, this is the only chance that they will ever get to perform at an event of this size.
Q. Is the Delgado group compensated in any way for participating?
A. The band is paid for the performance. The funds go into the Delgado Jazz Ensemble account at Delgado, and are used to pay for entrance fees for other festivals and competitions, such as the Loyola University Jazz Ensemble Festival.
Q. What songs can people expect to hear the group perform this year?
A. We will be playing lots of great music, from big band standards to modern hits. This year, we will also be featuring our Delgado Chamber Choir, who will be singing several songs with us. Hits from Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Machito, Glenn Miller, and Tito Puente will be featured.
Q. In addition to Irma Thomas, are there any especially well-known Delgado alumni, faculty, or staff performing at Jazz Fest?
A. We have a huge Delgado contingent that will perform at Jazz Fest this year. Just a small sampling: Stanton Moore (Galactic), Michael Skinkus (Freddy Omar, Vivaz, Honey Island Swamp Band, The Iguanas), Bert Cotton (Bonerama, Ingrid Lucia, Corey Henry & Treme Funktet), Jesse Boyd (Germaine Bazzle, Ellis Marsalis, Leah Chase), myself, Peter Cho (James Rivers, Delgado Jazz Ensemble), Mayumi Kozaki (James Rivers), and MANY others.
There you have it. Now, go put on your Hawaiian shirt, straw hat, and Bermuda shorts and get on out to the Fairgrounds for Jazz Fest, starting April 26.
A couple of photos I took at Jazz Fest in 2012:
Ulrike Masakowski, a Delgado music student, performs with the Delgado Jazz Ensemble at Jazz Fest on April 28, 2012. She was amazing!
The Delgado Jazz Ensemble at Jazz Fest on April 28, 2012. Big sound from a big band. That’s Dr. Peter Cho directing.