Santa Cruz, California, is a fun, exciting and adorable little town on the ocean. There are many privately run beach shops, sea food resturants and the very famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk! With the right company and a pleasant hotel, my trip to Santa Cruz has probably been the greatest I've been on so far. In Sacramento, there's a high school called River City High School, and this high school is home to a very reputable little jazz band called the Syncopating Sea-Monkeys, directed by Mrs. Felicia Alleger Greenwood Weatherly. From that jazz band has formed a jazz combo, called Treble in River City. We are comprised of a guitarist, bassist, pianist, California's top rated high school drummer, and myself on reeds (clarinet and saxophone). Being with my school's music program has allowed me a lot of fun adventures (in fact, after I'm done writing this blog, I have to pack for our trip to the Reno Jazz Festival!), but Santa Cruz has to be my favorite. Our school's jazz ensembles have gone to many music festivals, and we still have more before this year is over, but this particular story is about the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival. During jazz band (which is my first class of the day), Mrs. Weatherly found us a hotel, the California Inn, which I highly recommend! We but in some cash, and on the day of the festival we made the long, tiring drive out there, but nothing could dull our excitement upon seeing the hotel. This California (Dream – as I would jokingly call it) Inn rested right on the sands of the beach itself, the crashing of the waves could be heard, the ocean and the Boardwalk could be seen through the glass doors that opened up into the balcony. When the doors were opened, the room smelt of the sea and the fresh ocean air. The rooms were decorated colorfully and stocked with very nice, organic soaps. After a long day of driving, performing (our band earned straight twos, and the drummer and I recieved special recognition) and a late night closing performance from the members of the college where the festival was held, we were all very ready to head back for some fun and relaxation. We enjoyed the hot tub and heated pool, spent the morning walking on the beach, ate at wonderful local resturants, and had an excellent time at the arcade and other amusements at the Boardwalk. But these luxuries are not all that I have to share. So much more came out of this trip than a fancy hotel. The cool ocean air made me feel refreshed, rejuvinated, and reawakened. We finally got a good night sleep, we were able to relax. Being so far from home and work and school made us feel free and that we could let our shoulders relax for a while, and that we could clear our minds. And even better yet, I spent that weekend with people I enjoyed – my band mates. We laughed to the point that we couldn't eat at the restaurants, climbed and jumped off the rock formations, ran from the tide, collected shells on the beach, and enjoyed fun and games at the Boardwalk. Together. We've become a better band because of this trip. Not just the students, but we have a better relationship with our teacher. Her pride in us, our wanting to make her proud, and the fact that all of us involved are just closer now, we are all comfortable with one another now, and our music has greatly improved because of this trip. Santa Cruz is a place that I believe everyone could enjoy. Imagine if you could just be walking to a little sea shack for lunch, look down a peephole in the wharf, and see seals and sea lions napping and swimming and playing below you, hearing them bark and splash as you enjoy fresh oysters and shrimp, just caught that morning, and that night, unwinding in the hot tub with your friends, and taking a walk down the beach before going to sleep, awaiting the day to come tomorrow.
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