Golden Eagles Jazz Band kills it

MSJC Jazz Band ensemble showcases spring concert last weekend

Gena Estrin
Horn and Simmons performing the closing duet.

■ By Dennis Fletcher / Contributed

Mt. San Jacinto College’s Golden Eagles Jazz Ensemble recently wowed the audience at the San Jacinto Campus with familiar jazz and swing pieces that had the audience on their feet cheering wildly at the end.
College music instructor, Stephen Oliver Vaughan, led the 18-member community-based jazz band through 11 lively numbers including “Willow Weep for Me,” “More Than You Know,” “How High the Moon,” “Over the Rainbow,” Georgia On My Mind,” “Almost Like Being In Love,” and “Everyday I Have the Blues.”
In the second half of the program, the music was accompanied by vocalists Darlene Simmons and Kim Horn. The two outstanding vocal artists concluded the lively concert with a duet for Everyday I Have the Blues, where Horn echoed a bit of the great bass crooner Al Hibbler, and Simmons’ voice soared all over the soprano register like a songbird in joyful sorrow.

Dennis Fletcher
Stephen Oliver Vaughan, an instructor, who conducts the band, kept the audience informed about the music and musicians.

The concert was punctuated by loud applause throughout and a standing ovation at the end. Memorable moments included Alan Remele’s wailing bluesy flugelhorn solo, that was perfect for Willow Weep for Me, made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone.
Take Five, the iconic 1959 jazz gem written and performed by Paul Desmond’s small group and the Dave Brubeck Quartet, was ably rendered using Jerry Coker’s well-known arrangement for big bands. The 5/4 time (five beats to a bar) in Take Five can be quite challenging for any musician, but the band handled it with ease.
Singer and student Darlene Simmons added a bit of musical history to her rendition of Over the Rainbow, which MGM rolled out in their 1939 hit film The Wizard of Oz, when she included the original 16-bar prelude to the film score.
The Golden Eagles Jazz Ensemble will be back at the MSJC San Jacinto campus to thrill audiences at the MSJC Campus Theater with their fall concert in late October or November.
For more information, contact: Mt. San Jacinto College Music Dept.,1499 N. State St., San Jacinto, or visit

Dennis Fletcher is a writer and author who resides in San Jacinto. He can be reached at

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