A well-loved local tradition, the Friends of Jazz Mardi Gras is held early each spring and is the organization’s main fundraiser to support music in the schools. The costumed event is features dinner, music, dancing, a silent auction and a festive Mardi Gras parade.
Each year a Mardi Gras Queen and King are selected and a coronation ceremony takes place at the event. The royal highnesses, in addition to reigning over the Mardi Gras celebration attend other FOJ events throughout the year.
Performances by the Fullerton College Lemon Street Stompers and the Cal State Fullerton Jazz Orchestra highlight the event.
For more information or to RSVP, please contact: Larry Arthur, Director @562.565.0944.
High School Jazz Showcase
Each year, the Friends of Jazz hosts an annual High School Showcase featuring performances by more than a dozen local high school jazz bands. The bands are invited to perform for family and friends and in front of a panel of judges from Friends of Jazz.
The judging panel selects a young musician to receive a Friends of Jazz scholarship for their performance on the day. Friends of Jazz also presents a stipend to the band to assist with expenses related to jazz festivals or other costs.
The High School Showcase schedule is announced at the end of the year and typically runs from February through May with bands performing on Saturday afternoons.
With the loss of Steamers as the site for FOJ’s High School Jazz Showcase, the bands are now welcomed at another Fullerton establishments – Florentines Grill, located on the corner of Commonwealth and Harbor.
The events are free. Guests are welcome to enjoy food and drink selections from a menu prepared just for FOJ’s High School Jazz Showcase. All performances are from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Fourth Grade Recorder Program
One of Friends of Jazz’s most loved programs is the Fourth Grade Recorder Program which is designed to introduce young students to the wonders of music. Working with several elementary schools within the Fullerton School District, FOJ runs 10-week sessions of recorder lessons to fourth grade classes culminating in a concert performance for friends and families.
All recorders, music and instructors are provided by FOJ at no cost to the students or the schools. The students are allowed to keep the recorders after the session. This program provides a hands-on introduction to the joy of playing an instrument. Many of the students, thanks to this experience decide to pursue further instruction through the elementary band program provided to students in the district.
Each school semester, the program serves upwards of 500 potential new young musicians. And, each year a group of students performs at Friends of Jazz annual fundraiser, the Mardi Gras Ball.