No. 1 in the nation —€” The Folsom Jazz Choir hopes to represent the region and the nation in Europe this summer. To pay their own way, the students are offering to perform at private parties and corporate events this holiday season. Courtesy photo

Spotlight Columns

Folsom High School Jazz Choir is No. 1 with sights set on Europe

By November 4, 2011

The El Dorado Hills and Folsom region are home to some impressive talent. Fortunately, this talent is not hidden under a bushel basket. It is held aloft for all to see, whether it is a performance by EDMT, a local high school play … or a jazz choir.

I have had the good fortune to attend performances by our region’s high school youth in El Dorado Hills, Folsom and Sacramento.

These performances are certainly many levels above what was considered great back in my day (before the invention of Gregorian chant, according to my daughter).

However, unless you make plans to see these young people, you can often miss out. So I am going to share a very special opportunity with you. More on that in a moment.

This year, one group in our region is especially worthy of note: the Folsom High School Jazz Choir. Led by the award-winning Curtis Gaesser, this group of young people performs acapella … and their sound is magical. As an institution, the Folsom Jazz Choir is a “DownBeat Magazine” winner of some 14 years. And it gets better:

“This may well be the most talented jazz choir I’ve had in the last decade,” Gaesser said.

That, coming from the “California State Jazz Educator of 2003” is a huge statement.

In fact, this group is the No. 1 ranked jazz choir in the United States.

The majority of this year’s group is seniors. They have won the Monterey Jazz Festival multiple times. They have done the Sacramento region proud, as they represent the talent in our community. Not surprisingly, these kids have ties to El Dorado Hills … a few have parents who live here, as well as other extended family members.

Gaesser hopes to take this talented group abroad to perform at some European jazz festivals this summer, to show Europeans the talent that is here in the United States —especially in the Sacramento region. The challenge, as in most things, is in raising the funds. It will cost roughly $50,000 to send the choir overseas … and this is something school districts generally do not budget for. And many of the kids do not come from families that can just “cut a check” for a trip to Europe.

Consider this: If just one voice is missing from an acapella group … you lose that group’s unique “sound.”

So the students are taking matters into their own hands and offering a unique opportunity to individuals and businesses throughout the region. With good old Yankee ingenuity, these young people want to earn their way so each member of the choir can go on the trip.

For a limited time only, the Folsom High School Jazz Choir will perform during the holiday season at private homes and corporate events. They will sing a variety of Christmas carols and other holiday songs. You can ask for their repertoire.

To contact the choir (leave a message) or to make a donation call (916) 905-6297 or e-mail [email protected]. A holiday CD is also in production.

So, if you are blessed to be able to do so, consider making your holiday party the talk of the town this year … and let the young people of the Folsom Jazz Choir entertain and amaze your guests.

Submit your arts or entertainment event for consideration in Susan’s column by e-mailing her at [email protected].

Susan Laird


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