Sharing music with Los Alamos

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By Kirsten Laskey

Jan McDonald has been a fixture in the Los Alamos music scene. Whether conducting the Los Alamos High School band or performing with the Los Alamos Big Band, McDonald has shared his music with the community for a long time.

He will return to town, along with the Dalton Trio, at 7 p.m. Friday at Fuller Lodge for “An Evening of Jazz.”

The concert will feature jazz selections such as “Georgia on My Mind,” “Body and the Soul,” “Alone Together” and “Black Orpheus.”

Additionally, McDonald’s original compositions along with Bert Dalton’s original work will be performed.

In addition to the concert, the trio and McDonald are collaborating on an album, titled “Sweet.” The album should be completed in the spring.

McDonald said he has worked with the trio for several years. He enjoys playing with the trio because “mostly (it’s) just a rare opportunity to play with a great trio. It’s just a joy and a delight for me to do that and bring it to the public.”

He explained he met the Dalton trio, which is made up of Dalton, piano; Milo Jaramillo, base; and John Bartlit, drums; through the musician network in Santa Fe.

Plus, McDonald said he knew Dalton through performing in the National Dance Institute orchestra, which Dalton is the director.

McDonald, who plays the trumpet, has been involved in music since he was 10 years old.

Not only does he perform, but McDonald has past his knowledge in music to the younger generation.

He taught at Pueblo Junior High School and spent 27 years teaching at Los Alamos High School.

While McDonald impacted his students, they also influenced him. “A teacher will learn a lot from his students,” he said.

One of his students appears in the trio, Bartlit.

Additionally, McDonald continued his musical influence in Los Alamos as a member and co-founder of the Los Alamos Big Band. “I’ve been part of the Big Band since its inception,” he said.

McDonald also performs with the Santa Fe Symphony.

He is looking forward to performing once more in Los Alamos.

“Since I came in 1963, I’ve met hundreds of parents and friends,” McDonald said. “I get to see a lot of those parents and friends. That’s one of the joys.”

He is also eager for the opportunity to play jazz music. McDonald said he enjoys the creative process behind this type of music.

“It’s just a marvelous experience,” McDonald said. “It’s particularly marvelous when you’re playing with musicians that are your friends and musicians that are really top-notch.”

McDonald added jazz is one of America’s true art forms and the upcoming concert will “try to keep the legacy going.”

Admission costs $20 for the general public and $15 for seniors and students.

Tickets are available at Brownell’s Hallmark, Santa Fe Music and at the door.