Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

The Columbia Jazz Series will host the 35th annual Vocal Jazz Festival on Friday and Saturday at Columbia College.

More than 400 jazz singers from 22 school groups are scheduled to attend. The weekend will include school performances, workshops, clinics and evening concerts with the festival guest artists.

The festival will be headlined again this year by jazz and blues vocalist Barbara Morrison.

Morrison is widely know for her years with the Count Basie Band in addition to her numerous tours with Ray Charles. She has also performed and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinson and Carlos Santana.

Joining her will be jazz legend Don Shelton on vocals and woodwinds. Shelton was a longtime member of the famed 1950s and '60s vocal jazz group the Hi-Los. He has toured widely and recorded hundreds of albums as well as movie soundtracks and TV and radio commercials and jingles.

He originally played the voice of "Crackle" in the famous "Snap, Crackle and Pop" commercials in the '60s.In addition to singing, he also performs on clarinet, flute and alto and soprano saxophones.

The third guest artist will be Elaine Gibbs. She has spent most of her life performing gospel music, but was "discovered" on the first season of the Simon Cowell show "The X-Factor" and finished in fourth place.

The guest artists will perform in three concerts, Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. They will be backed by an all-star band including Nebraska Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pianist LeRoy Bumgarner, college jazz instructor Clinton Day on bass and professional percussionists David Hawkes, Mike Miller and Mario Flores.

The horn section will include Josh Lewicki on trumpet, Ken Taylor on trombone, Gordon Giedt on saxophone and Don Shelton on saxes, flutes and clarinets.

Rod Harris directs.

Selections will include Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow," Louis Prima's "Jump, Jive and Wail," the Tokens hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and the Ray Charles classic "Unchain My Heart."

Many of the selections will be backed by the college vocal jazz quartet of Caroline Walsh, Sheryl Max, Andrea Hayes and Joel Acker.

The daytime festival workshops and school group performances are free and open to the public.

Reserved seast tickets to the evening concerts are $22. Tickets are available until noon each day at the college bookstore at 588-5126) and at Mountain Bookshop in The Junction shopping center. The box office at the college's Dogwood Theater will open one hour prior to each concert.

Here is the school workshop schedule:


11:35 a.m. - Valencia High School II.

Noon - Summerville High.

12:25 p.m. - Merced High.

12:50 p.m. - Folsom High II.

1:15 p.m. - Workshop session.

2 p.m. - Cal State Sacramento II.

2:25 p.m. - Folsom High I.

2:50 p.m. - Valencia I.

3:15 p.m. - Cal State Sacramento I.

3:40 p.m. - Skyline College.

4:05 p.m. - College of theSiskiyousII.

4:30 p.m. - Workshop with festival artists (in Cedar Room).

7 p.m. - Evening concert (tickets required).


10:20 a.m. - Sinaloa Middle School.

10:45 a.m. - San Marin High.

11:10 a.m. - NatomasCharter High II.

11:35 a.m. - College of theSiskiyousI.

Noon - Workshop.

12:45 p.m. - Soquel High.

1:10 p.m. - Contra Costa College II.

1:35 p.m. - Cabrillo College II.

2 p.m. - Kingsburg High.

2:25 p.m. - NatomasCharter High I.

2:50 p.m. - Cabrillo College I.

3:15 p.m. - Harbor High.

3:40 p.m. - Contra Costa College I.

4:05 p.m. - Clinic with festival artists (in Cedar Room).

5 and 8 p.m. - Evening concerts (tickets required).

For more information, call 588-5211.