Lotus Festival welcomes Jazz Explorers

By Faire Davidson and Lesley Whitaker

The Jazz Explorers’ performance at the Convocation ceremony this morning was the group’s second performance in two months.

The Jazz Explorers attended the 30th annual Lotus Festival on July 13 in Echo Park.

The three-day festival opened with the Twilight Jazz Concert, which the group performed in, and continued with fireworks over Echo Park Lake later that night.

The group played two Latin songs  along with a variety of jazz standards. The only school-affiliated group at the festival, the Jazz Explorers played for approximately 40 minutes.

The trip was organized by jazz teacher Shawn Costantino in June and seniors Ian Sprague ’08 and  Ian Stanton ’08 were joined by new additions to the group Leland Cox ’09, Charlie Fogarty ’10, Billy Goulston ’08 and Gordon Wintrob ’08.

“It took a lot of adjustment,” said Cox. “We had to find a new dynamic.”

Practicing at the students’ homes and at school, the players were “hesitant to participate during the summer but did only because of a potential lack of rehearsal time,” Costantino said.

Despite little time allotted for rehearsal, the group “performed well playing with new members,” Sprague said.

This is the first year for new orchestra teacher William McClain after Paul Ludden’s departure at the end of last year. Because of McClain’s lack of experience with the convocation, Costantino offered the Jazz Explorers to perform instead of the orchestra.

The Jazz Explorers played two songs at the ceremony, and performed from 7:50 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.