Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band

2013 – 2014
Left to right: Robert Papacica, Guitar – Carmel High School, 11th grade; Cade Gotthardt, Trumpet – Soquel High School, 11th grade; Alex Condotti, Alto Saxophone – Pacific Collegiate School, 11th grade; Keshav Batish, Drum Set – Pacific Collegiate School, 11th grade; Jeremy Yanowitz, Upright Bass – San Lorenzo Valley High School, 11th grade; Lucas Hahn, Piano – Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory, 10th grade; Lewis Fowler, Tenor Saxophone – Los Gatos High School, 11th grade; Orgyen DeCosse-Graves, Drums, Percussion – Soquel High School, 10th grade. Walker Spence (Alt), Electric Bass – Pacific Collegiate School, 11th grade (not shown in photo). Photo Credit: r.r. jones

The Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band is an all-star ensemble of high school musicians led by noted pianist and composer, Eddie Mendenhall, with assistance from tenor saxophonist, Dillon Baiocchi. Having successfully auditioned, band members attend weekly rehearsals, study complex jazz theory, improvisation and arranging, and learn essential life skills such as communication, cooperation and critical thinking. The Honor Band performs at community benefits, festivals and special events, ending each school year with a concert at the renowned Kuumbwa Jazz Center.



Saturday, December 14, Homeless Services Benefit at Longs Maine Lab

Tuesday, December 17, Kuumbwa’s Annual Holiday Volunteer Potluck

Sunday, January 19, The Pono Hawaiian Grill; Santa Cruz, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Sunday, January 26, Monterey Whalefest; Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Sunday, March 2, San Jose Jazz Winter Fest, San Pedro Square Market, downtown San Jose, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Saturday, March 8, Opening at Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium prior to Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis; 6:30 – 7:15 pm

Tuesday, March 11, Shadowbrook Fundraiser, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Sunday, March 16, Jazz on the Wharf, Santa Cruz 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Saturday, March 29, Next Generation Jazz Festival, 12:00 – 12:30 pm

Saturday, April 5, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre In Concert, Cabrillo Crocker Theatre, 1:00pm & 4:00pm


“Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band performed at our fundraiser this past Saturday and they did an extraordinary job of setting a festive mood for the party.  Our guests were really impressed!” ~Jessica Abramson, Development Manager, Homeless Services Center

The band is available for booking December – June each year. Please contact Melody Korkos for details, 831-427-2227, or Print This Form, fill out and email to melody (at) kuumbwajazz.org. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

Eddie Mendenhall is an exceptional pianist and composer who has risen through the ranks in the bay area starting with the Monterey Jazz Festival High School All Star Band in 1989 and 1990. This band is currently known as Next Generation Orchestra, and was at that time  under direction of Bill Berry. Eddie had many  great opportunities while in this band, including the chance to accompany Dizzy Gillespie at the main stage of the festival. From there, Eddie earned scholarships to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and went on to graduate with a Bachelors degree in Jazz Composition. Recent stateside projects directing the High School Honor Band and teaching the jazz improvisation workshop series, The Jazz Kiln, for Kuumbwa Jazz. He is also working as a Traveling Clinician for the Monterey Jazz Festival and performing in bands up and down the California coast.

Tenor saxophonist, Dillon Baiocchi, has participated in Kuumbwa’s education programs since 2005, culminating in his winning a spot in the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band. Now with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The New School in NYC, Dillon teaches band programs in middle schools around Santa Cruz County. Dillon brings a unique perspective to the program from his participation in Kuumbwa’s programs through the years. This year’s band is reaping the benefits of being guided by both of these wonderful musicians.

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