Beginning this month, the College of the Canyons jazz choirs will host a series of intimate, cabaret style performances at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center intended to showcase the groups’ collective singing talents, while providing community members with a new venue to experience vocal jazz and a cappella music.
The COC music department’s Chancellor’s Cabaret Series will debut at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in the main lobby of the University Center, located on the college’s Valencia campus.
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“I am delighted that our devoted music faculty have created this unique opportunity that will enhance our students’ performance skills, and give the community a chance to experience music in a new way,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook.
In the first installment of the series, the college’s two vocal jazz choirs — Just Jazz and House Blend — will be joined in concert by touring vocal jazz ensemble Audio Radiance.
Hailing from Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, Audio Radiance is currently enjoying its 20th year as one of the cutting edge vocal jazz ensembles in the United States.
Under the guidance of musical director Jason Smith — who earned a Grammy nomination for his work on the album “Night in the City” by Phil Mattson and the P.M. Singers — the group has served as the headlining act at several national jazz festivals and maintains an active touring scheduling with recent visits to Chicago, Denver, New York, and Winnipeg.
This year, tours by Audio Radiance will include performances throughout the San Francisco Bay and greater Los Angeles areas.
“We have long been searching for an intimate performance setting with good acoustics — and the University Center provides that,” said Julie Lawson, artistic director of the COC choral department. “It’s an exquisite venue, which lends itself beautifully to our style of vocal jazz and a cappella singing.
“Inviting other visiting artists to perform will also provide excellent opportunities for our students to work with fellow musicians,” Lawson said, “and allows us to share our love of vocal jazz with the community.”
General admission to the Chancellor’s Cabaret Series is $12 or $10 for students and senior citizens. Tickets will be available at the door beginning at 6:15 p.m. on the evening of the performance or in advance by contacting choir director Julie Lawson. All ticket proceeds will benefit the COC jazz choirs.
Subsequent performances in the Chancellor’s Cabaret Series have tentatively been scheduled for late spring, early fall and the holiday season.
As an added treat, those performances will also incorporate the presence of COC culinary arts students, who will be on hand to serve food and wine to attendees, as part of the college’s ongoing culinary arts capital campaign. However, those dates and times have yet to be finalized.
For more information about the COC music department’s Chancellor’s Cabaret Series or to purchase advance tickets please contact COC choir director Julie Lawson at (661) 362-3674.