CHS musicians headline Hyatt’s music fundraiser

For those who happened to walk into Monterey’s Hyatt Regency on Jan. 6, they might’ve followed the sound of live music to the hotel’s TusCA Ristorante, where CHS jazz students and alumni were entertaining the restaurant’s guests.

Wine, Dine and Jazz is an ongoing effort of the Hyatt’s to help local jazz education by putting a certain amount of the audience’s dinner checks towards a music organization.

According to the Hyatt’s director of sales David Lambert, who helped start the program, it all began in 2014 in a partnership with three wineries: Scheid Vineyards, Cima Collina and Twisted Roots.

“Over the course of the year we hosted four events in the TusCA Ristorante to raise funds for Monterey Jazz Festival Clinicians,” Lambert says, referring to a group of professional musicians who go around to local schools and coach their jazz bands once a month. “We raised $7,200.”

With students from the Monterey County All-Star Jazz Band providing the entertainment, diners only had to say they were supporting the Clinicians and 30 percent of their check went towards the cause.

CHS musicians Michael Montgomery and Ari Freedman play at the Hyatt on Jan. 6 with CMS singer Pascale Montgomery.

CHS musicians Michael Montgomery and Ari Freedman play at the Hyatt on Jan. 6 with CMS singer Pascale Montgomery.

But starting in 2016, the Hyatt decided to take a new direction, aiming to get the funds raised more directly to the schools. At the same time, the CHS Music Boosters needed extra opportunities to raise money for the Heritage Festival trip in March, according to Boosters board member Bruce Haase.

“For CUSD Music Boosters specifically this year, additional fundraising was important as we have been using the Super Bowl Raffle as one of our principal fundraisers,” Haase says.

The basic premise is the same, except that now local students can enjoy the benefits through their school’s music programs rather than just the monthly Clinician visits.

“We decided to broaden the promotion and support to the Monterey Peninsula’s three school districts: Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel,” Lambert says.

This includes live music once a month, with each month given to one of the districts to showcase the fruits of their jazz education. CUSD was given the month of January.

Three CHS students and three alumni, along with Tularcitos music teacher Gene Short and CMS singer Pascale Montgomery, got together to make some music, an especially beneficial experience for CHS sophomore Noah Kirsch.

“The Wine, Dine and Jazz event was really fun,” Kirsch says. “It was a great experience for the customers, for me and for everyone really…getting to play with top-tier musicians.”

-Ari Freedman