Jazz Fest Keeps Memories Alive, Supports Local Kids

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Great Spartan Band Director Renee Baker directs members of Valley Jazz at the 5th Annual Jimmie Cannon Jazz Fest.
Great Spartan Band Director Renee Baker directs members of Valley Jazz at the 5th Annual Jimmie Cannon Jazz Fest.

IMPERIAL – The sweet sounds of lively jazz music filled the Calico Stage last Thursday night as the 5th Annual Jimmie Cannon Jazz Fest commenced. The Jazz Fest featured performances by Valley Jazz and the jazz bands from Holtville, Brawley, Southwest, Imperial, and Central High Schools.

The Jazz Fest was created as tribute to the late Jimmie Cannon after his passing in 2009. Cannon was the band director at Central Union High School for over 30 years and is credited for introducing Central to its signature move “the Shuffle”, as well as shaping the Central Band into the Great Spartan Band, as it is known today.

Cannon was also known for his jazz music and influence on jazz in the Imperial Valley. His successor as Great Spartan Band Director, Renee Baker, explained that this is an annual event where Valley Jazz hosts the other jazz bands in the valley from both high schools and junior highs and anyone is welcome to come and play.

Baker went on to state, “We really appreciate that the fair keeps giving us this opportunity each year. The money we raise from this event goes back out as scholarships to the students, so it’s really beneficial for the kids.”

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