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Lodi-based jazz band going north to Canada

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2002 10:00 pm

After playing countless jazz festivals and gigs in the last five years, the Lodi-based Barkin’ Dawgs band will take their tunes north to Canada.

The Dixieland jazz band will play on the stages of the Chilliwack Jazz Festival in British Columbia on Friday evening and Saturday.

The youth band saved about $12,000 earned from playing area jazz festivals and events to pay for the trip, said Rikki Nishimori, an 18-year-old trumpeter for the band.

The group of teen-agers was recruited by Bob Romans, a retired Lodi Unified School District music teacher and Cell Block 7 jazz performer, in 1998.

Romans has formed several youth jazz bands in the last decade, including the Riverboat Rascals, Hot ’n’ Tots, Alley Cats and Alligator Stompers.

Nishimori, a Lodi High senior, said the band members decided they wanted to take a trip with their earnings before the band splits up in the next couple of years following high school graduations.

After a recommendation by Romans and another friend, the band worked to fit the Canadian festival into their schedules, he said.

Katie Waters, who plays the tenor saxophone, said she is excited about the upcoming trip.

“This is the first time the band has gone on such a long trip,” the 16-year-old said.

The teens are looking forward to performing with other youth bands at the festival, Waters said.

“Just getting out and playing with other jazz bands is fun,” she said.

Waters said her experience with the band has boosted her confidence as a performer and advanced her musical skills.

Romans said venturing out to other jazz festivals exposes the teens to other musicians and larger audiences.

“They’re a really good band. They can hold their own at any jazz festival in the world,” he said.

The band will perform its longest haul ever Saturday with five sets at the festival, Nishimori said.

“We’ll see how well we do. We should be OK,” he said.

The teens, who will be accompanied by family, plan to do some sightseeing while in Canada, possibly visiting Vancouver during the four-day trip, he said.

The band members heading to Canada include trombone player Lance Gardenhire, tuba player Priscilla Ornelas, clarinetist Brendan Benapfl, banjo player Joshua Halecky, pianist Steve Harreld and drummer Becky Ornelas.

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