Areas all around Historic Folsom were home to the sounds of toe tapping Jazz last Friday and Saturday as 40 some different high school and college bands converged in town for the much-anticipated California Jazz Championships. 

Folsom Times gives you an inside look of day one of the California Jazz Championships in History Folsom.

The California Jazz Championship is the brainchild of Folsom High School Music Director Curtis Gaesser and Assistant Director Gaw Williams and is the product of the The Live Performing Arts Academy, a nonprofit organization they founded that is dedicated to furthering arts education and opportunities for youth. 


Visitors to Historic Folsom will have the opportunity to watch live performances through Saturday afternoon by some of the best college and high school jazz bands on the West Coast during the final weekend of April with a brand-new event, the California Jazz Championships. 

Over 20 bands from California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington will perform and compete on 3 stages throughout the two-day event.  Folsom High School and Granite Bay High School, Rancho Corova and Woodcreek were among the localist of entries in the competition, which is judged by multiple judges using a point system. 


The event is free to spectators, who are encouraged to wander from stage to stage and enjoy music in the outdoors. Modeled after the European style of jazz festivals, this inaugural event will come to Historic Folsom each year. 

“The event is entirely free to spectators who are encouraged to wander from stage to stage, enjoying music in the outdoors,” said LPAA founder and Folsom High School Music Director, Curtis Gaesser. Modeled after the European style of jazz festivals, this is the first annual event that will come to Historic Folsom each year.”

Performances began at 10 a.m. Friday and continue at 30-minute intervals until 5:30 p.m. on a variety of stages, including the Historic Amphitheater, the 700 block of Sutter Street as well as in front of Scott’s Seafood near the entry of the historic plaza. 


Through the day Friday, local eateries and shops have been bustling with business as participants, families and attendees from the community enjoy a beverage or a bite to eat, or enjoy one of the many shops between performances. 

Folsom’s Sutter Street Theater was packed as well. The community theater space was being used as a warm up room during the day Friday, prior to hosting its Friday night performances once the day’s competition is complete. 


Friday night, special guest artists Kerry Marsh and Julia Dollison of the Capital Jazz Project performed on the Zittel Stage. 

There were also master classes into Saturday in the Sierra Ballroom at the Lake Natoma Inn led by pianist Joe Gilman, trombonist Dave Eshelman, saxophonist Jacam Manricks, bassist Cindy Rosefield, trumpeter Ian Carey, drummer Hank Barfield and singers Marsh and Dollison.

Saturday performances ran from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The final concert of the night brought the top three bands from each division to perform on the Zittel Stage.

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan