Battle of the Big Bands blowout


Sophie Gonzales adds some pizazz to her performance during Thursday night’s rehearsal at the Haugh Performing Arts Center.

Sophie Gonzales adds some pizazz to her performance during Thursday night’s rehearsal at the Haugh Performing Arts Center.

Decked out in white suits and red bow ties, Citrus College’s Blue Note Orchestra and Azusa Pacific University’s Jazz ensemble came together for the tenth year for the annual Battle of the Big Bands musical competition.

Originally founded by David Beatty of APU and Robert Slack of Citrus College, the performance showcases the best of both schools and creates a lively competition in which performers and audience members partake in a musical rivalry.

“This is for all the dermatologists in the room,” said Sergio Vellatti prior to singing “I’ve Got You Under my Skin.” With this line Vellatti’s charm put an immediate smile on my face.

Vocalist Sophie Gonzales gave a beautiful performance of “My Ship” composed by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, in which she seduced audience members with her captivating voice.

One of the highlights of the evening was the performance of “Minnie the Moocher” with the vocal talents of Citrus student, Sophie Gonzales, and David Manuel of APU. It was sassy versus swag when both schools attempted to outdo each other. As the audience we all won just by being part of the show.

As “Come Fly With Me” began to play, Vellatti came out once again and filled in the huge shoes of Frank Sinatra. Going against such a legend is a big task to take on but Vellatti took on the challenge and delivered a charming and captivating performance.

The most entertaining performance was when the Blue Note Orchestra performed to the backdrop of Jerry Lewis in the 1961 movie “The Errand Boy.” The original music track in that film was performed by the Count Basie Orchestra. This had everyone laughing throughout the entire number.

The big finale was “Wind Machine,” which was performed by Citrus and APU students. Both schools had special alumni guests playing the drums and this brought the house down. The intensity of students from both schools giving their soul to the performance was the ending that all concerts should have.

The audience, composed of everyone from college students to senior citizens, connected with the performers. If a performer gave it their all, the audience was sure to let them know it was greatly appreciated.

The energy in the room was high and even though it was a diverse crowd, everyone shared the same appreciation for the musical talents of all contributing performers that evening.

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