Last Saturday night people were treated to superb musicians, grand arrangements, angelic voices, and even a talented tap dancer - at the Hollywood Bowl? Carnegie Hall? Fresno’s Saroyan Theater? Nope - all the above were heard and seen at the Harry H. Baker, Jr. Gymnasium on the Yosemite High School campus during the 9th Annual Nite on the Town concert.
The swanky fundraiser raised about $14,000 for the YHS music department. About 120 students performed 25 pieces for the appreciative audience of 400 that filled the gym, which was transformed into a concert hall featuring three stages and professional sound and lighting.
For YHS Music Director Francisco Marquez, the evening was the culmination of five months of planning and countless rehearsal hours working with all the students who make up the jazz band, concert band, percussion, brass, flute and wind ensembles, chamber singers, combined choirs and solo performers.
“This was a fabulous night of great entertainment,” said Oakhurst resident James Cardoza. “These students are very talented and it’s nice to see the music program thriving at Yosemite High.”
Although it was not easy to pick his two favorite performances, Yosemite High alum Garrett White said he really liked the advanced piece of Hayden Millar’s Rondo by bassoonist Jamie Hellwig, and Don’t Worry be Happy played by the brass ensemble.
Other crowd favorites included Noah Allen’s take on Elvis’ Only Fools Rush In, Kelsey and Emma Campbell’s Milk Cow Blues Special, the beautiful vocal trio performance of Tutu Maramba by Delaney Potter and Olivia and Rachel Mattos, Bobbee Cresci’s tap dance to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, a medley of Looney Toon cartoon hits, and closing with an Armed Forces Medley.
If there was a music department MVP award for the night, it probably would have gone to senior Hellwig for her Rondo, a vocal solo (You and I) and her contributions to the choirs and flute and wind ensembles.
About $5,000 of the proceeds from the event came from a live auction and nearly 100 items from Mountain Area businesses and individuals that made up a silent raffle - both chaired by Bonnie Fralicks. The live auction featured mini vacations to Disneyland, the Pismo Beach Hilton and The Redwoods in Yosemite.
As she has done for seven of the nine shows, Yosemite Unified School District Trustee member Monika Moulin served exquisitely as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
“The level of talent, not to mention energy and just good ol’ ‘school spirit’ shown by these Yosemite High music department students is always remarkable to me,” Moulin said. “This year’s Nite on the Town extravaganza was no exception - just one exceptional, even jaw-dropping, performance after the other.”
Moulin said she was impressed with the sell-out crowd that included many corporate and service group-sponsored tables.
“It is truly an example of how this community demonstrates that it knows the vital role a healthy and truly excellent school system plays in our challenging modern world,” Moulin said. “I cannot say enough how proud I am to be a part of it.”
The school’s culinary arts students, under the direction of Dena Boortz, provided white and chocolate cake, and cherry and apple pie - all served with chocolate-dipped strawberries.