Good times rolled at Mardi Gras 2024!

The biggest event of the year, coinciding with FOJ’s 25th anniversary, showcased great music, food and auction items.

Few annual Friends of Jazz events are better and none are bigger than the king of all major fundraising events, the party celebrating Fat Tuesday: the Mardi Gras Ball, held March 3 at the Fullerton Elks Lodge.

One hundred guests had plenty to celebrate at this year’s Mardi Gras Ball. And it was all for a good cause–keeping music in the schools–and FOJ’s 25th anniversary.

And boy did they celebrate! Plenty of dancing, parading, eating, drinking, bidding on auction items and just plain merriment.

At 5pm, doors opened for cocktail hour, and guests were greeted by the California State University, Fullerton Quintet.  They were served delicious hors-d’oeuvres, given a drink ticket, beads, and a ticket for a free photo while the group entertained. They also got their first look at the array of 65 silent auction items beautifully displayed in numerous baskets, and they bought tickets for a drawing and for bottles of wine (which included a chance for dinner at the Summit House). Specially engraved wineglasses marking FOJ’s 25th anniversary and the evening’s programs adorned each table.

Of course, what ball would not be complete without the appearance of the reigning 2023 king and queen, Bob & Doris Muschek. Then FOJ President Colleen introduced the newly chosen royal couple for 2024:  Jim and Donna Harlan.

Following the coronation was an authentic, New Orleans-style Mardi Gras krewe parade, led by FOJ’s colorful dragon and CSUF’s Titan Ramblers. Guests paraded joyfully throughout the venue, complete with beads and twirling parasols, while the krewe played “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

In the main ballroom, the Fullerton College Jazz Band, directed by Bruce Babad, provided some great entertainment for listening and dancing. A delicious dinner was served while the band played. 

During and after dinner, members of Fullerton College’s vocal jazz group, J-Train, and their director, Jamie Shew, sang several crowd-pleasing jazz standards with the Fullerton College Jazz Band. Director Bruce Babad, soloed on both sax and flute. And plenty of dancers were swinging and swaying to the music.

After collecting their auction items at the end of the evening, guests were given a commemorative bag with a ballpoint pen, a key fob and a small notebook to take home. It was a fun-filled evening that raised money to help keep music in the schools.

Heartfelt thanks to you, our members, for helping to keep music in the schools by supporting this worthy annual event. Hope to see you at other fun FOJ events this year and at next year’s Mardi Gras!