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Play for Gumbo!

Merced College Hosts Gumbo Music Festival to
Raise Funds for Katrina Survivors

“A piece of French bread
With which to wipe my bowl,
Good for the body.
Good for the soul.
I will play for gumbo
Yes, I will play for gumbo”.

Mombo Hernandez

If you’ve ever heard Jimmy Buffet sing these lyrics from his popular song “I Will Play For Gumbo,” then you won’t want to miss the first-ever Gumbo Music Festival, scheduled for Saturday, October 1, at the Merced College Theater from 2 – 6pm.

Co-sponsored by Merced College and the Central Valley Musicians, The Gumbo Music Festival is a charity concert to raise funds for the Hurricane Katrina survivors with all proceeds going directly to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Martin Martinez Jr., a local jazz saxophonist who resides in Modesto, was prompted to act while watching the horrific images of Hurricane Katrina ravish the Gulf Coast. With its roots deeply planted in the heart of New Orleans, jazz continues to inspire and influence musicians worldwide. Hurricane Katrina may have destroyed New Orleans, the Cradle of Jazz, but it didn’t destroy the spirit of the people who bestowed the gift of jazz upon the world.

With these images in mind and with unwavering determination, Martinez began the enormous task of quickly organizing a benefit concert that would not only raise funds to donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, but also give the community an opportunity to hear several talented Central Valley artists perform. He began calling several local bands up and down the Valley who responded so enthusiastically, that they rescheduled their paid touring gigs to perform for free. Their response has been an incredible affirmation that Central Valley musicians will quickly unite together in overwhelming support for the victims and survivors of this devastating catastrophe.

Bands such as Deck Hogan’s Dixieland Band, Blue and Beige Jazz Quartet, Ernie Bucio’s Dixieland Band and Latin Jazz Band, will fill the air with age-old familiar sounds, while Tradewinds and Knight Sounds will present rock, swing, and Motown for the audience. And for those who love the Blues, Gary Hamilton Blues Band will perform mid-day.

Latin Percussionist, Mombo Hernandez, was also delighted to be asked to play and is making a special guest appearance in support of this cause. Originally from Lodi, Mombo currently performs with Smooth Jazz vocalist, Slim Man, and has played with Lou Rawls, Peter White, Rick Braun, David Benoit, Dave Koz, Steve Oliver, Tony Windle, Greg Vail, and Rob Mullins.

Merced College adjunct instructor, Ernie Bucio, will direct several of the bands during the concert and Martinez says the “day will be filled with amazing talent,” and also promises “a few surprises” for the audience.

Tickets for the event are now on sale and can be purchased at Gottschalk Music Centers in both Modesto and Merced. Prices are $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for students with I.D. and children. Seating is limited so purchase tickets early. For more information, contact Janet Lyle, Director of the Off-Campus Centers and Noncredit Program at Merced College at (209) 381-6543.

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