Turn Up the Music!

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG)  |  By Susan Maxwell Skinner
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Rio Americano High School jazz musicians and band director Josh Murray (left) join an ovation at the finale of the 2018 Wayne Reimers Jazz Festival.
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Carmichael Kiwanis Club member Ron Greenwood (right) presents a commendation to Rio Americano high School jazz band director John Murray. The club and San Juan School district partner to sponsor the annual music festival.

Kiwanis and Rio Americano Students Jam for Jazz

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Duke Ellington and Count Basie riffs rang through Rio Americano High School campus last week as junior musicians took part in the Wayne Reimers Jazz Festival. The event began 36 years ago to showcase middle and high school bands from San Juan School District.

Aged from 12 to 18, young jazzers performed in 12 ensembles. Host school Rio Americano presented six bands. After performances, each group was coached by professional clinicians Dyne Eiffertsen, Joe Mazzaferro and Craig Faniani. A former Rio Americano instructor, Faniani, helped Carmichael music teacher Wayne Reimers establish the festival in 1982. Audience attendance is free to the public and students’ families.

The event is sponsored by San Juan School District and the Carmichael Kiwanis. Club members donate $3,500 annually in scholarships for Camp Winthers Music Camp near Soda Springs. The Club also provides $10,000 yearly to visual and performing arts. Through the jazz festival, a music camp scholarship is donated to each participating band. 

“Back in 1982, Craig Faniani I saw a need to spotlight San Juan District jazz bands in a non-competitive situation,” explains Wayne Reimers (84). “The festival gives them a chance to have fun, to learn and to improve their skills.”