Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Time to jam at Cuyamaca's winter music fest

Winter Wonder Jam -- Cuyamaca College’s early holiday gift to the community featuring homegrown bands and musicians playing an eclectic mix of music practically for free – is set for 7-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, in the performing arts theater.
Musicians perform at a past Wonder Jam concert.

Open to the public, the sixth annual music fest is put on by students in the Music Industry Studies program as a term project to learn the intricacies of concert promotion and production. Admission is $5 or a donation of three canned goods to the San Diego Food Bank. Ample free parking will be available at the college at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego.

The event will showcase six bands and artists performing original music, along with their version of a Christmas song. Representing a variety of genres from singer songwriter, folk, Americana, and rock, the local talent will be playing in one of the most acoustically sound venues in East County.  

  •  Songwriter Bobby Michaels composes all of his songs from recollections of his dreams. His songs are stories that draw his listeners in to appreciate both the music and lyrics. The East County artist plays everything from country to rock music.
  •  Enter the Blue Sky’s four-member Americana group, together less than a year, has already gained a strong following, including performances at the Hard Rock Café and Rebecca’s Coffee House. Each member of Enter the Blue Sky brings years of experience and individual talent together to blend into a new and vibrant music act.
  •  Singer/songwriter Jon Campos is a seasoned performer and has opened for Puddle of Mudd, Eddie Money, KC & The Sunshine Band, and many other acts. Campos was the headliner at the Waikiki Grand Hyatt some years back where Bruno Mars was the opening act. The former front man for the hard-hitting rock band Seventrain is now a solo acoustic musician.
  •  Russian singer/songwriter Ilya Shatov hit the road with his first band, A Dull Science, which toured nationally, playing more than 400 shows. The group won numerous battle of the bands awards and songwriting competitions, particularly "best punk artist" at the Hollywood Music Awards. The band, which has since split up, also played with the likes of P.O.D., A Flock Of Seagulls, Lou Gramm of Foreigner, and the Ataris.
  •  Singer/songwriter Samer Bakri provides a unique sound with his rock and reggae blend.
  •  Mark Montijos’ up-tempo Country Rock/Americana sound elicits memories of a more serene and poetic time in the ‘70s. He performed as a solo performer and in various bands at clubs and festivals before leaving the music scene in the late 1970s to focus on business ventures and political action. The former founding president of the nonprofit Jamul Arts and Music Council currently serves as chief administrator for the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The holiday bash is an all-ages event with pastries and beverages, along with tables set up for musicians to sell CDs and T-shirts.

The entirely student-produced event is designed to teach students what it takes to put on a large-scale production, said co-instructor Annie Zuckerman. The students handle every aspect of the concert from auditioning bands, developing a marketing plan, creating posters and fliers, promoting the concert via social media, setting up the event, managing the stage transitions from one band to the next, and running the live sound – all under the tutelage of the faculty and staff from the Performing Arts Department.

Music Industry Studies is a transfer degree program unique locally to Cuyamaca College that combines classes in music theory, literature, and performance with studies in music technology and business. The festival is the product of one of the program’s classes, the Music Industry Seminar.

The class is broken up into teams, with each group assigned a specific task. The seminar class has so much to offer that students take it for four semesters, each time learning a new skill. During the spring, the students put on the Coyote Music Festival, an even larger outdoor event. And it isn’t just music students, but graphic design, art and business students who are recruited to take the class. Zuckerman leads the seminar along with music instructor ­­­­­­­­­­­Taylor Smith.  

For more information, including links to bands performing at the festival, go to For further information about the Music Industry Studies program, go to or call (619) 660-4322.

For more information about Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges, go to

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