On a foggy evening, with the side of the William B. Lowman Concert Hall lit by a giant spotlight, a standing-room-only audience listened to some of the best jazz many said they
had ever heard. The evening was a tribute to Marshall Hawkins, who for more than 30 years, has been Idyllwild Arts’ director of Jazz Programs and has taught jazz by loving the story and loving his students. Said Hawkins of his IA career, “My gift is not to play music but rather to be as lifting with it as I can be. It does not come from me but through me.”
The Alumni Jazz Concert, on Saturday, March 5, was the first audience event at the new, state-of-the-art concert hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus. Jazz alums, students of Hawkins, came and played for the man who inspired them with his love for this iconic American art form. Alums from 1987 through 2014 returned to honor Marshall Hawkins. They included Evan Christopher, clarinet (1987); Ray Clemens, bass (1996); Patrick Farrell, drums (1997); Andy Fraga Jr. drums (1997); Daniel Sazer-Krebbers, bass (2002); Tommy Cooper, trumpet (2004); Will Snyder (2004);Graham Dechter, guitar (2004); Mike Barnett, piano (2005); Caitlin Flaxman, voice (2009); Nora Germain, violin (2009); Jacob Scesney, alto sax (2011); Martin Budde, guitar (2014); and Luca Jacaruso, piano (2014).
Alums were joined by current IA jazz students and guitar man Bob Boss. IA Music Chair Chris Reba, a member of the Grammy Recording Engineer Division, manned the sound board, delicately balancing acoustic and amplified instrumentation and voices.
As the audience stepped out of the hall into the heavy fog at the end of the concert, Bill Lowman, IA founding headmaster, appeared out of the mist. Asked to stand for a picture in front of his name plate on the side of the hall, Lowman smiled and said “It’s Brigadoon.” And, for that evening, he was right — a magical place appeared out of the mist: There was music, history to celebrate and a great man to honor. It was a night to remember.