Jazz unites community through diversity

Bassist Baltazar Montoya and drummer Riku Myllykoski of the David Spitzfaden Trio perform at the “Jazz Night” event Tuesday in the Campus Center Ballroom, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event featured a live band, churros and painting. / photo by Chris Rogers
Bassist Baltazar Montoya and drummer Riku Myllykoski of the David Spitzfaden Trio perform at the “Jazz Night” event Tuesday in the Campus Center Ballroom, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event featured a live band, churros and painting. / photo by Chris Rogers

Thatiana Gibbs
Staff Writer

The Campus Activities Board transformed the Campus Center Ballrooms into a speakeasy Tuesday featuring The David Spitzfaden Trio, along with other activities for guests. 

Live music, canvas painting, mocktails and churros were all up for grabs. 

Roughly 30 community members showed up for the event.

“I was trying to think of something that was culturally diverse, and that everyone could relate to and enjoy,” Meena Furutan, CAB music chair and digital media major, said. “I think this fosters a sense of community because I can see people and different friends groups sitting at the same table and having to interact. I think in that sense people are getting to know each other.”

The David Spitzfaden Trio band is made up of bass, drums, and guitar, with Spitzfaden himself as lead vocalist. The musicians are inspired by their ability to make people feel something through music. 

“What brought me here tonight is how jazz is really deeply rooted in Black culture, originating from places like New Orleans,” Adekoyejo Shoroye, sophomore criminology major, said. “I learned that Jazz music was founded by people of color and about the place that it has in American music. This event promotes what Southern California is known for, being one of the most diverse states in the nation.”

David Spitzfaden of the David Spitzfaden Trio performs at the “Jazz Night” event on Tuesday in the Campus Center Ballroom, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event featured a live band, churros and painting. / photo by Chris Rogers
David Spitzfaden of the David Spitzfaden Trio performs at the “Jazz Night” event on Tuesday in the Campus Center Ballroom, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event featured a live band, churros and painting. / photo by Chris Rogers

CAB discovered the band from attending the annual National Association for Campus Activities conference in November of 2023. Artistically fluid in terms of genre, the trio typically goes for a more organic blend of funk, blues rock, R&B, and more. 

They put extra attention into the venue that was set out for them. By rehearsing intentionally, the trio performed a two-hour set that was fully jazz focused.

“It looks like everyone is having fun,” Manager of the Davis Spitzfaden Trio Kathy Bowes  said. “They’re used to performing for an audience, so it’s fun to see that there are churros and activities, it’s a multifaceted evening that seems fun for everyone. Music is the best so I think that it just brings people together. I hope they enjoyed themselves and got a break from studying and go home in good spirits.”

The painting section garnered a lot of attention, with personal paint materials to use during the event and take home afterwards. Materials provided included mini canvases, paint brushes, and two portable paint containers with multiple colors. 

Bon Appetit, the university food service company, provided the mocktail bar that offered drinks including “Lavender Sunrise Punch,”  “Iced Leo Colada,” and mango spritzers. The bar displayed the different options in clear tumbler cups, garnished with berries and citrus. 

“The Munchie Spot,” a Latinx owned dessert cart served the community warm and sweet churros that came with a side of your choice of syrup. Located on the outside patios toward the back of the ballrooms, the churro cart gave guests a view of campus while they enjoyed their treat. 

“I feel that this (the churros) is one of those cultural tastings you can get that is totally unique and we specialize in our Mexican cuisine,” Leni Hernandez,  owner of The Munchie Spot, said. “We try to bring out all of the Mexican flavors for everyone to try. I personally love churros.”

Thatiana Gibbs can be reached at thatiana.gibbs@laverne.edu.

The David Spitzfaden Trio performs at the “Jazz Night” event on Tuesday in the Campus Center Ballroom, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event featured a live band, churros and painting. / photo by Chris Rogers
The David Spitzfaden Trio performs at the “Jazz Night” event on Tuesday in the Campus Center Ballroom, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. This event featured a live band, churros and painting. / photo by Chris Rogers

Thatiana Gibbs is a junior journalism major with a concentration in print-online journalism and a staff writer for the Campus Times. Her enthusiasm lies in research, writing, and effectively delivering captivating information to the public eye.

Chris Rogers is a junior photography major with a minor in art history. He is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and chief photographer of La Verne Magazine. He is also a freelance photographer and movie stills photographer. He discovered his love for photography at a young age as he and his family traveled the world in their goal to reach all seven continents. They were fortunate to reach their seventh continent in the winter of 2019. He have a deep love for photography and loves being able to tell an entire story through one still image at a time. His work can be found at ChrisRogersPhotography.com.

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