By Steve Gilford – For more than a half dozen years, Jam Nation has been performing for performing at assisted living homes, Alzheimer residential care units and retirement communities in Sonoma County. Our band has donated the payments we receive to support student music programs. Last year several of our members attended an end of season concert by a mariachi youth organization we had supported and came back excited about the program and proud to have been a supporter.
On the evening of June 28, I had a chance to go to their end of season concert at the Cloverdale High School auditorium. As you might expect, the audience seemed to be made up of proud parents and grandparents. When I compared the musicianship and the enthusiasm of these groups to my own high school concert band, I was embarrassed. These young musicians didn’t need qualifiers such as, “For a high school group, they’re pretty good”. They were just plain good. You didn’t need to be a parent or grandparent to enjoy this music and it was clear that these young guitarists, fiddlers, trumpeters and singers were enjoying the concert as much as their audience.
It was also clear that they were learning more than just music. With perhaps fifty or more high spirited kids together, they still remained professional in decorum both on and off stage even though it was also clear that they were having a really good time. I left Cloverdale, proud that Jam Nation was playing a part in helping to support these kids and their music.