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Merced College Jazz Orchestra Presents A Night At Birdland

April 26 , 2005

What do Perry Mason, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke and the Mod Squad have in common? Not a thing…except that their theme music was written by the same person, Earle Hagan, a little known individual outside of the music industry. You may not recognize his name but if you can whistle the tune from Mayberry, you will enjoy hearing Hagan’s music once again as the Merced College Jazz Orchestra, directed by John Albano, performs his musical piece “Harlem Nocturne” during its springtime performance at the Merced College Theater, Friday, May 6 at 8 p.m.

“Harlem Nocturne” is just one of the many classical and contemporary jazz and blues renditions that will delight and captivate guests as the audience is taken on a nostalgic musical tour of the past 70 years in an evening celebrated as A Night at Birdland. Birdland was the name of a jazz club that opened in the late 1940s on “Swing Street” in New York City where the new music “bebop” was being performed at the time by Charlie Parker and others. “The theater stage will be designed to reflect the nightclub setting,” says Albano. “We want the audience to feel as if they are part of an intimate jazz club environment.”

Remember “The Girl From Ipanema,” “Fever,” and “The Look of Love?” You’ll get the chance to hear these favorites once more along with “Moanin’” and “Everyday I have the Blues.” You’ll even hear a little of the Beatles thrown in as “Here, There & Everywhere” delights Lennon and McCartney fans. And who can forget the movie “An American in Paris” inspired by “Someone To Watch Over Me”?

A Night at Birdland is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser so reserve your tickets early by calling the Merced College Theater at 384-6284. General admission is $8, students and senior citizens are $6. Tickets may also be purchased at Aloha Flowers and Gifts in the Merced Mall, Applewood Gifts located at 510 W. 18th Street, Kissin’ Kouzins at Bear Creek Galleria, and Seraphim Café in Atwater on Winton Way.

For those interested in performing with the jazz ensemble, you are invited to visit one of the rehearsals or come to the first meeting in the spring semester on January 18th. For more information contact John Albano at 384-6368.

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