Bonita Performers Jazz up the Fox Theater with Big Band Bonanza

March 12, 2011
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Candy Girl Maddy Geller, Musical Director Jeff Bird, Renae Pifer and Nicole Pifer.

Candy Girl Maddy Geller, Musical Director Jeff Bird, Renae Pifer and Nicole Pifer.

The place to be and be seen Friday, March 11 was the Pomona Fox Theater, where the “Evening of Jazz – Swingin with the Big Bands” was again the show-stopping performer for a second consecutive season.

About 250 supporters and Big Band enthusiasts turned out for dinner and music presented by the Bonita High School musical program and the La Verne Band Boosters Association. It was strictly a classy black tie affair and a throwback to the fabulous ‘40s. The art deco setting and grandeur of the Fox provided the perfect venue for Bonita’s stylish crooners, songbirds and soloists to dazzle the audience.

Organizing such a premier event took a cast of thousands, or almost that number, headed by Musical Director Jeff Bird, Master of Ceremonies Tom Pinkus and Event Chair Alicia Rodriguez. Peggy Tomita also chaired the Decorations, Costumes and Program Committees, and was just one of several parents wearing several (top) hats to make the night a success..

“It was an amazing group of parent volunteers who stepped forward to make this evening possible,” said Pinkus, who looked splendid backstage in his classic tuxedo.

The evening marked Bonita’s 16th Evening of Jazz and the second at the Fox. “This place has a really nice vibe to it, making it a very nice evening for everybody,” Tom added. “It’s a full night of dinner and dancing.”

There was no shortage of service for guests from the time they entered the grand lobby to taking their place for dinner, which featured entrees of chicken cordon blue, tri-tip pot roast or mostaccioli with vegetable marinara. Bar helpers included: Alexandria Aguerre, Holly Alvarado, Caitlynn Burchette, Corinna Delgadillo, Bree Lizama and Natalie Yedinak.

Place Setters were Duckie Deguzman, Max Fancher, Spencer Gray and Kevin Lisbin. Doormen were Spencer Gray, Pablo Martinez, Ronald Wang and Eric Watson. Candy Girls included Maddy Geller, Celia Perez and the Pifer girls, Renae and Nicole.

Ushers were Christina Cortez, Max Fancher, Ed Magdaleno and Ryan Mendez. Runners included Jessica Carnahan, Ally Geller, Nicole Pifer and Renae Pifer. Clean up fell to Matt Cline, Duckie Deguzman and Max Fancher.

The servers were a large group, comprising Alex Aguerre, Holly Alvarado, Jared Brach, Alex Brod, Caitlyn Burchette, Jessica Carnahan, Matt Cline, Corinna Delgadillo, Duckie Deguzman, Kevin Lisbin, Bree Lizanna, Candace Martinez, Matt Myatt and Natlaie Yedinak.

The lone ticket taker was Brittany Redd.

It was nonstop entertainment from start to finish – from the first set to the last. Here was the lineup of performances and performers:

Set 1

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by Don Raye & Hughie Prince

Soloists: Caityln McHughe & Jeremy Smith

They Can’t Take That by George Gershwin

Vocalist, Ryan Hicken; Soloist: Grant Francis

Fly Me to the Moon by Kaye Ballard

Vocalist, Ryan Hicken; Carlos Rodriguez

At Last by Mack Gordon/Harry Warren

Vocalist, Alison Stickely, Soloist, Carlos Gomez

I Get a Kick Out of You by Cole Porter

Vocalist, Alison Stickley; Solist, Sage Tomita

It Had to Be You by Isham Jones/Gus Kahn

Solists: Luke Anderson, Caitylyn McHugh and Bobby Groom

Witchcraft by Cy Coleman

Vocalist, Marcus Klotz; Solist, Jordan Butler

Just in Time by Comdem/Green/Styne

Vocalist, Marcus Clotz; Soloists, Jordan Butler & Madeleine Turner

Set II

In the Mood by J. Garland/A. Razaf

Soloists: Bobby Groom, Jordan Butler and Luke Anderson

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning by David Mann

Vocalist, Laura Pluth, Soloist, Lindsey Kunisaki

Almost Like Being in Love by Frederick Lowe

Vocalist, Laura Pluth; Soloist Lindsey Kunisaki

720 in the Books by Adamson/Savitt/Watson

Vocalist, Megan Rasmussen; Soloists, Bobby Groom, Ryan Torres, and Amanda Duddles

Embraceable You by George Gershwin

Vocalist, Megan Rasmussen

Come Fly with Me by Van Heusen/Cahn

Vocalist, Luke Pettygrove; Soloist, Bobby Groom

Night and Day by Cole Porter

Vocalist, Luke Pettygrove; Soloist Lindsey Kunisaki

Yardbird Suite by Charlie Parker

Soloists: Christopher Phan and Jordan Butler

There were also committees of committed musicians further embellishing the Big Band sound:


Carlos Gomez

Jeremy Smith

Luke Anderson

Christopher Phan

Carlos Rodriguez

Ryan Torres


Alyson Bell

Madeleine Turner

Joe Naranjo

Isaac Delgadillo


Bobby Groom – Tenor

Danny Garcia – Tenor

Kate Rimpau – Tenor

Jordan Butler – Alto

Rachel Klein – Baritone

Caitlyn McHugh – Baritone


Lindsey Kunisaki

Amanda Duddles


Marcus Klotz


Grant Francis

Electric Bass

Sage Tomita

For great Music, look no farther than Jeff Bird and the BHS Jazz Ensemble. For the best in Real Estate service, try Colleen Bennett, La Verne’s top Realtor, who comes highly recommended by La Verne Online Publisher, Peter Bennett. Now enjoy the photo gallery:



















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