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Local jazz programs entertain national artist
Grammy nominated trumpet and trombone player Mic Gillette rehearses with band students from THS and TJHS Friday morning.

Most successful people can identify a moment or person that inspired them and propelled them towards success and for many people that moment occurs in school.

The Turlock High School Jazz Ensemble and Turlock Junior High School Band are gaining exposure through the unique opportunity of rehearsing and performing with Grammy nominated trumpet and trombone player Mic Gillette. Gillette is a known for his horn performances in Tower of Power and with Santana, as well as having appeared on records for bands such as The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, and Sheryl Crow.

“I think it is good to give these kids the opportunity to perform with such a great artists. You can only go so far as teachers, but when they are inspired by a performed it can really help them improve themselves for themselves,” said THS Band Director Daniel Baudino.

Gillette echoes the same sentiment through his creation of “Music in the Schools,” a program designed to educate and inspire the next generation of musicians. He spent Thursday morning doing more than rehearsing with the students from THS and TJHS for their joint performance next week, as he supplemented instruction with life advice.

“Opportunities are going to rise and you’ve got to take them, you’ve got to be ready,” said Gillette. “I’m handing the baton off to you guys. When I was growing up pros didn’t want to share all their tricks, but your generation is supposed to be better than mine and that means you will one day pass the baton onto the next generation too.”

The students took Gillette’s words to heart and were not only excited for their opportunity to work with Gillette, but also proud to host him.

“It is awesome getting to work with Mic, he is like a father figure and really humble. I’ve learned so much from him even though we play different instruments,” said Ross Valenzuela, a 10th grade saxophonist at THS.

 The THS and TJHS Jazz ensembles will perform with Gillette at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the TJHS Auditorium, 3951 N Walnut Rd, Turlock. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds will go toward the THS and TJHS music programs. Tickets can be purchased in Turlock at Yonan’s Jewelers, Hendrickson’s Turlock Music, THS Activities Office or in Modesto at the Gottshalk Music Center.