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Venture Jazz Collective Plays at Numerous FHS Events

Julia Buktaw
Venture Jazz Collective at Battle of the Bands on March 15, 2024.

Venture Jazz Collective is a group of juniors and seniors that came together during the summer. It all started when they began playing their instruments in a pavilion for fun. They decided to perform at Freedom High School’s “Soda Shop” with “Fly Me To The Moon.” The group started mainly with wanting to perform Journey songs, and started with calling themselves “Venture.” Later on, they began enjoying playing Jazz and added the “Jazz Collective” part of their name.

The members are Seth Alexander, Brandon Shen, Alex Ignacio, Matthew Eisen, Jonathan Edwards, Sterling Brown, Jake Domingues, Timothy Suh, Ethan Tran, Stephen Matechak, Emily Aaron, Hailey Chong and Colin Mcpherson. The group also performed at various school gatherings including the Black Student Association (BSA) meeting and the International Festival, and became more and more known as they performed for the school.

“We shifted more towards jazz when we all got naturally better at our instruments and would jam in the practice room and ended up enjoying it a lot,” said Matthew Eisen, who plays the drum set with Venture Jazz Collective.

Eventually, they got a gig/fundraiser event at Kokee Tea during the summer, with dozens of people who attended. This really kicked off their debut as Venture Jazz Collective and only got better from there. 

“I think the most rewarding part of doing local fundraisers for businesses like Kokee doesn’t even have to do with how good I feel about my performance or anything like that,” said Brandon Shen, who plays the saxophone. “What’s really important to me is seeing the smiles and emotion on peoples’ faces that we have created. We didn’t expect many people to show up at Kokee for our first fundraiser, but it turns out that the place was packed at one point! That feeling of knowing that we made someone’s night better is a feeling that was really valuable to me at that moment. That moment stuck with me, and it’s inspired me to keep getting better at what I do, and to keep working with the community to spread good vibes.”

Many of them were active members of the Spirit of Freedom Marching Band, Drumline, and played in Freedom’s musicals such as “Matilda,” “Tuck Everlasting” and “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.”

As many of the members are going their separate ways for college in a few months, they are currently trying to figure out what they are going to do in the future.

“At first it was crazy to think about, because I haven’t played in front of that many people before,” said Alex Ignacio, who plays the guitar. “Yes, I have played in ensembles but this was different because I was one of like eight people instead of 30. Now, it feels natural to play because I don’t think of the big crowd.”

Taking fine arts classes such as band, strings and guitar are very important because it helps you build bonds with the people around you. Every student shares a similar interest in that class. Building those strong bonds will be one of the most rewarding things you can do. There has been a lack of participation in fine arts classes, so Brandon is trying to advocate and get more students involved.

“If you’re in a performing arts class now and love it, keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t be afraid to show your work off to others- do all you can to inspire others,” Shen said. “If you’re in an arts class now and don’t love it, realize that the art that you create will reward you eventually, whether it’s by giving you an emotional outlet, skills for the future, or lifelong connections with others.”

Follow their instagram account @venturejazzcollective, and keep an eye out for their next posts and performances!

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About the Contributor
Julia Buktaw
Julia Buktaw, Staff Writer
Hi my name is Julia Buktaw. I am a staff writer for Uncaged. I like to paint and hang out with friends. I love to take photos at games and events.