Student musicians at Gleneagle secondary want to turn a disappointment into a celebration for the Coquitlam school’s 11th annual jazz gala.
Last week, teacher Ed Trovato broke the news the eight students and staff from the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba, wouldn’t be coming as their visas were denied at the last minute.
Trovato, who with the teens had fundraised and organized documents and accommodation for the eight musicians to travel to Canada, quickly got on the phone to arrange another guest act.
That’s when Gleneagle graduate Raphael Geronimo came to the rescue, calling on his Rumba Calzada bandmates to step in.
“We were very lucky they were available,” said Trovato, who taught Geromino. “They’ve even got a singer from Cuba for the show.”
The Juno award-nominated band will play for an hour at the Feb. 23 gala as well as with the Gleneagle jazz band for their set; the school vocal jazz choir will also have the stage for a few songs including Fly Me to the Moon, Desafinado and Over the Rainbow.
Vocal jazz student Jeffery Guo, 17, said this will be his third time singing in the school gala. “It’s great because it gives us performance experience,” he said.
Added fellow Grade 12 student Jobina Sitoh, “Mr. Trovato says the memories we make now will be us for the rest of our lives… we love sharing music because it brings us together.”
Last year’s gala brought in about $3,600 for the Gleneagle music program. This year’s event will see food served by Lotrell Catering as well as an opportunity to bid on silent auction prizes (businesses can donate by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org).
Gala tickets at $50 will be available until Feb. 18. Visit gleneagle.org or call the school (1195 Lansdowne Dr., Coquitlam) at 604-464-5793.
Meanwhile, Trovato said the funds collected to host the Cuban guests will be spent on instruments and other music gear, which 85 Gleneagle students will take to the Caribbean country next month, during spring break, and leave for those students.
A parent committee at Dr. Charles Best secondary will turn the Coquitlam high school into a scene from France when they host An Evening in Paris next month.
The 20th annual dinner and dance on March 2 is a fundraiser for graduation celebrations for next year’s Grade 12 class, in 2020.
Tickets at $45 can be purchased online at sd43.schoolcashonline.com.