LA high school jazz ensemble embarks to China for youth music festival

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Students from Alexander Hamilton High's jazz ensemble in Los Angeles were honored at city hall before they embark to China to perform at a youth music festival. (KABC)

The sound of smooth jazz echoed high above downtown Los Angeles as members of the Alexander Hamilton High jazz ensemble were honored at LA City Hall.

Ronnie Heard, who plays tenor saxophone, is one of 20 students preparing to pack their bags for a trip to China.

They'll be representing Los Angeles when they participate in the 12th annual Sister Cities International Youth Music Festival next month in Chengdu, along with a four-day stop to perform in Shanghai.

"I was lost for words," Heard said. "I've always wanted to go there, so I get to go there and do something I love, which is play music. It's like a bonus."

The trip is sponsored by Sister Cities of Los Angeles and the China General Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles.

"I want to thank my parents for letting me go," Heard said. "I want to thank all the people sponsoring the trip because it costs a lot."

"Everybody was talking about how it was all expenses paid," trombone player Kevin Lazar said. "Yeah, that's what we were most excited about."

Director Jim Foschia said many of the students haven't been outside of California or Los Angeles. He said he's looking forward to enhancing the group's education, gaining perspective for the world we live in.

"Anywhere you go in the world, you see somebody carrying an instrument case, and you already have something in common with them," Foschia said. "And you can already spark up a conversation without ever opening up your mouth."
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