Clark College Jazz Festival strikes gold

High school band competition to pay tribute to former directors Beacock, Ramsey

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If you go:

What: Clark College Jazz Festival.

Where: Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way. Gaiser Hall is on the northwest corner of the main campus between McLoughlin and Fourth Plain boulevards.

When: Golden Alumni Band performances at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and finals competitions at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. See schedule for individual school performances.

Cost: $5 per day. Free for Clark College students and children under 12 accompanied by an adult.

Information: Visit http://www.clark.edu/special/jazz_festival/ on the Web.

CLARK COLLEGE JAZZ FESTIVAL 2012 SCHEDULE

January 27, 2012

A Schools

8:40 a.m. Astoria High School

9 a.m. Washougal High School

9:20 a.m. Ridgefield High School

9:40 a.m. Creswell High School

10 a.m. Break — David Hagelganz Saxophone Clinic in Ellis F. Dunn Community Room

10:20 a.m. University Prep

10:40 a.m. Woodland High School

11 a.m. Ridgefield High School

11:20 a.m. The Overlake School

11:40 a.m. Clark College Jazz Ensemble; announcement of Outstanding Musician Awards and “A” finalists

AA Schools

12:40 p.m. R.A. Long High School

1 p.m. Bishop Blanchett High School

1:20 p.m. Columbia River High School

1:40 p.m. Cottage Grove High School

2 p.m. Mead High School

2:20 p.m. Washougal High School

2:40 p.m. Break — Alumni Band open rehearsal

3 p.m. Scappoose High School

3:20 p.m. Fife High School

3:40 p.m. Mt. Spokane High School

4 p.m. Mountain View High School

4:20 p.m. Milwaukie High School

4:40 p.m. Hockinson High School

5 p.m. Golden Alumni Band, announcements of Outstanding Musician Awards and AA finalists

7 p.m. Finals Competition8:30 p.m. Clark College Jazz Ensemble; A and AA awards presentation

Jan. 28

AAA Schools

8 a.m. Battle Ground High School

8:20 a.m. Prairie High School

8:40 a.m. Vancouver School of Arts & Academics

9 a.m. Rogers High School

9:20 a.m. Cleveland High School

9:40 a.m. Mt. Spokane High School

10 a.m. Break — David Hagelganz Saxophone Clinic in Ellis F. Dunn Community Room

10:20 a.m. Mountlake Terrace High School

10:40 a.m. Roosevelt High School

11 a.m. Mead High School

11:20 a.m. Meadowdale High School

11:40 a.m. Mountain View High School

Noon Clark College Jazz Ensemble; announcement of Outstanding Musician Awards and AAA finalists

AAAA Schools

1 p.m. Centennial High School

1:20 p.m. Skyview High School

1:40 p.m. Lake Stevens High School

2 p.m. Rogers High School

2:20 p.m. Graham-Kapowsin High School

2:40 p.m. Break — Alumni Band open rehearsal

3 p.m. Battle Ground High School

3:20 p.m. Puyallup High School

3:40 p.m. Garfield High School

4 p.m. Mountlake Terrace High School

4:20 p.m. Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra

4:40 p.m. Pacific Crest Orchestra5 p.m. Golden Alumni Band, announcements of Outstanding Musician Awards and AAAA finalists

7 p.m. Finals Competition

8:30 p.m. Roosevelt High School Jazz Band I, 2011 Sweepstakes Band

9:30 p.m. AAA and AAAA Awards Presentation, 2012 Sweepstakes Award

Dale Beacock might not physically be present at the 50th anniversary of the Clark College Jazz Festival — but his spirit will certainly be there.

Beacock, former band director at Clark College and founder of Beacock Music, influenced so many local musicians that it would be hard to separate him from the festival he brought to Clark College from Hudson’s Bay High School back in 1970.

Beacock was supposed to be honored in person at the 50th anniversary of the festival this weekend, but the 81-year-old was killed in a bicycle accident in Oregon on Aug. 4.

Chuck Ramsey, who followed Beacock’s tenure and was the Clark College band director from 1985-2007, said he’ll greatly miss seeing his old friend at the show, but he knows Beacock will be watching over it somehow.

“I remember one night, it was snowing and everything and all of a sudden I remember him coming through the doors — the wind was blowing and he was wearing this very large trench coat,” Ramsey said. “Somehow the lights went off at one end of the hall and I told him he was like the ghost of Jazz Festivals past. He got a kick out of that.”

After that day, Beacock used to make a grand entrance when seeing Ramsey during the Jazz Fest and give him a booming “I’m back,” Ramsey said.

The 50th anniversary event will pay tribute to both Beacock and Ramsey and will include a few special treats, said Richard Inouye, who took over the band director position after Ramsey left.

“Everybody’s really excited about our alumni band, which has former Clark students from three generations of band directors,” Inouye said. “It’s going to be a great, special event.”

Ramsey will lead the Golden Alumni Band, which will play at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Musical selections will be part of the tribute to Beacock, Ramsey said.

“I know Dale was very much a Count Basie person — he loved the old-style swing,” Ramsey said. “We’ll have Count Basie, Duke Ellington, I picked a lot of the music for him — I didn’t want him to come back and haunt me.”

Another addition for the 50th anniversary will be a two jazz clinics by Dave Hagelganz, coordinator of Jazz Studies at Washington State University in Pullman and a Clark College graduate. They will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and are open to the public.

The festival was launched in 1962 by Hudson’s Bay High School band director Don Cammack. It started as a one-day invitational jazz competition for schools in Clark and Skamania counties.

It alternated between Fort Vancouver and Evergreen high schools before Beacock brought it to Clark College. By the time it moved to the college, the event had grown to include 17 high school jazz bands.

Beacock expanded it to two days and included school jazz bands from greater Portland and all of Washington. In 1971, 32 bands participated. In 1976, the festival had grown to 52 bands, and today it includes 60 jazz groups and 1,200 student jazz musicians.

“This festival has always been focused on the big band style of jazz,” Inouye said. “In terms of that not a whole lot has changed. But it’s grown quite a bit. It started with just five or six schools.”

Over Friday and Saturday, the school bands will play “everything from Ellington and Basie to Maria Schneider, from early swing to contemporary, and probably even some Afro-Cuban salsa music,” Inouye added.

The bands will compete in four categories according to school size, with trophies going to the winners. The finals winner, named at 7 p.m. Saturday, will get to play in a special ceremony at next year’s event.

But even though the groups compete against one another, the musicians all have great team spirit, Inouye said.

“It’s really about listening to the young high school musicians,” he said. “It’s very much a community experience. Everybody cheers each other on.”

Inouye said he, too, will miss Beacock’s presence at the festival — but he sees the profound influence Beacock has had on the music community in Clark County every day.

“It’s really been a privilege for me to run this festival,” Inouye said. “Sometimes I’m speechless because it’s so awesome. I’m just happy to be here and happy I was handed something that was so well organized and loved by the past two directors.”