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Northgate Jazz is Heading Back to Monterey

Aug 03, 2015 10:36AM ● By Jennifer Neys

Northgate High School's Jazz Band I performs March 28 at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey. Photo by Susan Broehm.

By Tamara Helfer

For the second consecutive year, Northgate’s Jazz Band I has won the honor of playing at the world-renowned Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

The band took first place in the high school big band division at Monterey’s highly competitive Next Generation Jazz Festival last March. “It was surreal hearing our name announced as the winning band for a second year in a row,” said Northgate Music Director Greg Brown. Northgate’s Next Generation win is its ticket to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival stage. “The other bands are such fine groups that you just don't expect to come out on top in consecutive years,” Brown added.

For junior Adam Hentschel, a bass and percussion player who was in the band for the first time this year, heading to Monterey means that “Northgate is not a one-hit wonder -- that there’s something special going on in the jazz program.”

Sophomore Kevin Prough added, “Not only did we at least meet the standards of last year, but we possibly exceeded them. I’m proud to be part of the group.”

The trip to the 58th annual Monterey Jazz Festival is just as special for those veterans who are going back for the second year in a row.  “Getting to go again is mind-boggling,” said trombonist Zac Robbins, one of six seniors who graduated from Northgate in June and who will return to play with the band in Monterey. “I get to meet my stars and play in the same festival they’re in. That’s crazy.”

Jazz Band parent representative Karen Jenkins says that raising funds for the trip is a challenge, as the students will travel to Monterey during the city’s most expensive tourist weekend of the year. “It’s an amazing honor, but it’s an unexpected expense,” Jenkins said. “We need to raise $5,000 to cover transportation and one night’s lodging.”

The Northgate Instrumental Music Boosters has launched a “Back to Monterey!” campaign and still needs to raise close to $3,000 before September. To learn more, to watch a video of the band, or to make a tax-deductible donation to help send the students to Monterey, visit Donations may also be sent to NIMB, PO Box 30232, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.

Northgate Jazz Band I plays at 4:30pm, Sunday, September 20, on the Night Club Stage in Monterey. Tickets are available at



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