The vocal and piano programs were founded Spring semester 2000 with one voice class and three piano classes. By 2006, the programs began presenting large semester concerts in the theater, and the vocal jazz group began representing the college at regional festivals.
In 2008, the vocal jazz ensemble, JazzaNova, was formed, and semester concerts became Showcases with strategic production and promotion. The jury system was instituted in 2009, where music majors had to pass solo performance programs for faculty panel each semester. In 2010, JazzaNova was named a top six national finalist for the Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation, they released their first professionally recorded CD, JazzaNova, and the Music Department evolved into the School of Applied and Commercial Music. In 2011, the daytime chamber ensemble became the Contra Costa Singers, JazzaNova was again chosen for the Monterey Festival, and a new commercial jazz group, JAZZ-ology, was formed. In 2012, JazzaNova was invited to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival and was a Category Award winner at the Reno Jazz Festival. In 2013, JAZZ-ology was named a top six finalist for the Monterey Jazz Festival and was a Category Award winner at the Reno Jazz Festival. JazzaNova won Outstanding Performance from the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards, and JAZZ-ology and JazzaNova released their CD, Starting Here, Starting Now. In 2014, JAZZ-ology won Outstanding Performance from the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards and was again awarded top six finalist for the Monterey Jazz Festival. In 2015, both JAZZ-ology and JazzaNova won Outstanding Performance from the DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards, and they released their third CD, On a Clear Day.
Contra Costa Singers, JAZZ-ology and JazzaNova have performed extensively, including: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Mission San Jose, Sierra Choral Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Reno Jazz Festival, Columbia Jazz Festival, Cuesta Jazz Festival, Piedmont Piano Series, Patnoe Jazz Festival, the Westin St. Francis, St. Mary's Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Grace Cathedral. The Gospel Choir has performed at the Hollywood Gospel Festival. Each year, CCC music majors complete the course of musical study and transfer with scholarships to Universities around the nation. Today the vocal program offers five levels of training and many ensembles: Contra Costa Singers, JazzaNova, Jazz Singers, College Chorus, JAZZ-ology, Jazz Solo Voice, and Gospel Choir. The piano program offers six levels of training as well as Jazz Piano. The Continuing Piano class has performed for the National Guild Auditions and Music Teachers Association of California Adult Recitals garnering Superior and Excellent Awards.
These two departments are proud to showcase award winning faculty members:
Dr. Stephanie Austin, Performance Program Director, Jennifer Griest, Denise Hunter, Roger Letson, John Montanero, Fred Randolph, and Clinton Day.
For more information on how you can be involved in this program, email Dr. Stephanie Austin, Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Vocal and Piano programs: firstname.lastname@example.org.