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Cal Poly’s Collegians Celebrate 50-Year Reunion with Concert Aug. 26

Performance Will Also Honor the Band’s Founding 80 Years Ago

The Cal Poly Collegians Alumni Big Band will celebrate its 50-year reunion — and the 80th anniversary of the band’s founding — with a performance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, in the Madonna Inn Ballroom in San Luis Obispo.

The band’s annual gathering draws more than 20 alumni musicians — Cal Poly graduates from the late 1940s to the early ’60s — to recreate the swinging sounds of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Les Brown and other famous ensembles of the big-band era. Members will travel to San Luis Obispo for the reunion and concert from throughout Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Québec, Canada. 

The Collegians, the predecessor to today’s acclaimed Cal Poly University Jazz Bands, was founded in 1937 by then Music Department Head Harold P. Davidson. As they celebrate the band’s 80th anniversary and their “golden” reunion this year, members are urging younger Cal Poly jazz band alumni to join and keep the annual tradition going into the future. 

Winners of the 2016-17 Cal Poly Collegians’ Jazz Scholarship — Taylor O’Hanlon, trumpet, and Tyler Stockton, trombone — will join in the performance.

Past reunions have found the alumni band performing at a variety of local venues on the Central Coast, including wineries, parks, shopping malls and San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza. The Madonna Inn Ballroom has been the site of the band’s homecoming since 1999, following a personal invitation from the late Alex Madonna.

Admission to the Saturday evening performance is free; voluntary contributions to Cal Poly’s Collegians Jazz Scholarship are welcome.

The Collegians draw a full house every year, and seating is guaranteed only for those who make a reservation and dine in the Madonna Inn Gold Rush Steak House. Non-diners who wish to dance or listen are accommodated on a first-come basis. To make dinner reservations at the Gold Rush Steak House, call 805-543-3000. For more information about the Madonna Inn and the Steak House, visit the Madonna Inn website.

For more information about the Cal Poly Collegians Alumni Big Band or the performance, visit the group’s website, or email Collegians member Bob Alberti at rea@yourperfectright.org.