‘Fantasy of Stars’ showcases Bear River jazz ensembles | TheUnion.com

‘Fantasy of Stars’ showcases Bear River jazz ensembles

The 15th annual Fantasy of the Stars will showcase Bear River High School’s award-winning jazz ensembles Starlite Express and Jazz Unlimited in three performances Friday and Saturday.

Starlite Express has received numerous awards throughout the state; Jazz Unlimited has earned top marks at the RAVES Jazz Festival and the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival. In addition, Jazz Unlimited has performed twice in the annual Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.

On Friday only, the Bear River Dancers will join Starlight Express and Jazz Unlimited. Magnolia Intermediate School’s Starmakers will perform at Saturday’s matinee and the Bear River High School Jazz Band will perform Saturday night.

The Just Dave Band, a blues band from Los Angeles, will have guest appearances in all three Fantasy of Stars performances.

Band leader Dave Bernal is a Bear River High School graduate with a classical music and jazz background. He was a student of Cherry Hayes, the current Bear River High School choral director, through the choral program at both Magnolia Intermediate School and Bear River High School.

“Dave was in the first five Fantasy of Stars and now he’s coming back for the 15th. He and his band are donating their time and talent,” Hayes said. “Dave credits his start in his professional career with his experiences in the program here.”

Bernal’s four-piece band combines blues, soul, rockabilly and ballads. The full-time musician is on harmonica and lead vocals.

Last year’s guest jazz group, the Cal Poly Jazz Choir, included Bear River alumni Lauren Baumgardner and Andrea Beahm.

“I really have a number of former students working in the profession. I want to keep highlighting them at ‘Fantasy of Stars,'” Hayes added.

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