Hip Hop Orchestra

By Laura Fouquette

On Thursday October 10th, students and parents packed into the Proscenium Theater to see Canyon Crest Academy’s first ever Hip Hop Jazz Orchestra. Choir, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and Orchestra all collaborated, along with many special guests, to create a show unlike anything CCA has ever done in the past. The production featured performers from Envision Dance Conservatory and CCA’s Breaking Club.

All of the music in the production was composed by Geoff “Double G” Gallegos, an award-winning Los Angeles-based artist known for integrating different musical genres onto one stage. He explains “Every time you learn to play a different genre of music, you learn something new. After learning hip hop, my jazz and classical compositions had more depth.” As a result, Gallegos hopes that the CCA musicians will grow from this experience through incorporating multiple genres.

The first 50 minutes of the show solely contained jazz music. The set list had a perfect balance of contemporary and classical music. “Sunday Morning,” a Maroon 5 song sung by CCA Junior Spencer McKinney, was a great jazz rendition of a modern pop song. Senior Alexis Neumann, a member of Vocal Conservatory, sang the classic song “I Wanna Be Like You.” Neumann says that she loves “singing classically, but there is something special about jazz. Jazz gives the artist more creativity and freedom.” Percussionist Grant Gilbreth says, “Jazz is all about having fun. There’s no judgment and it’s very informal.” At the end of the jazz set, all 44 members of the choir came back onto the stage once again and surprised the audience by singing “Conjunction Junction,” a song about grammar usage from Schoolhouse Rock.

After intermission, Steve Macario, a Vocal Conservatory student, performed his highly personal spoken word poem entitled “Music is a Language,” which segued into a performance of “A Vibe Called Quest” by six dancers of Envision Dance Conservatory. After an outstanding performance, Omari Hughes, a Los Angeles-based rapper also known as F.A.N.T.O.M. captivated the audience with his fluid changes, entertaining rhyme schemes, and complex metaphors. Hughes tells the audience: “Rap is nothing more than verbal percussion.” Senior Amanda Smith, a member of the CCA Choir, remarks that Hughes brings “a really unique aspect to the show that made this particular show very different from all previous CCA music shows. He really brought it all to life.” By the end of the show, Hughes had the entire audience, even the grandparents, singing and clapping along to the rap music.

Additionally, four members of the CCA Breaking club came out, all wearing matching white button up shirts and ties. They mesmerized the audience with their talent, and the entire theater clapped along to the music. Sophomore Brendon Kim, a member of the CCA Breaking Club, says “our club meets twice a week during lunch, and we have been practicing a lot for this opportunity.”

CCA’s first ever Hip Hop Jazz Orchestra was a complete success. Alexis Neumann says that she “hopes we do more creative projects in the future. Collaborating with other departments and classes is always rewarding.”