The Petaluma High School Music Program held its 15th annual benefit concert Friday at the Mystic Theater in Petaluma.
The school’s jazz ensemble opened for Bay Area jazz musician Gunhild Carling, performing a dozen songs including “Soul Man” by Sam & Dave and “Little Liza Jane” by Nina Simone.
“It’s kind of a party night for us as a program because we’re in a professional concert hall and the students are playing there and that’s something special,” said Cliff Eveland, instrumental director and high school choir.
The concert raised funds to supplement the school‘s music program budget.
“We’re not trying to buy any particular instrument or anything like that. I just try to keep the lights on,” Eveland said.
About 80% of the program’s money comes from various fundraisers organized by the students and by the high school music booster club, according to Eveland. Previous fundraisers include a tamale sale and a bake sale.
The annual benefit concert began in 2006 when a parent at the school had a connection with one of the owners of the Mystic who agreed to have the class perform there.
Other musicians the Jazz Ensemble has opened up to include Bay Area soul and rock band Con Brio, San Francisco-based rock band Royal Jelly Jive, and blues, jazz, and swing singer Lavay Smith.
“I usually try to pick a band that has at least some, what we call ‘horn players,’ like trumpet, trombone, saxophone, because we’re a jazz band and so we have those instruments,” Eveland said.
Tickets for the event sell for $20.
For more information on future fundraisers, visit www.petalumahighmusic.org.