Sacramento high school students selected to represent young women in jazz at Monterey Jazz Festival Avery Jeffry Friday, September 22, 2023 | Sacramento, CA Listen / Update RequiredTo play audio, update browser or Flash plugin. Courtesy of the artists The Teagarden Jazz Camp is a long standing Sacramento tradition It's a summer music program for teens to learn traditional jazz and early Americana, and it's supported by the Sacramento Jazz Education Foundation. The camp takes place at the Sly Park Education Center in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and has been running since 1986. While there, students learn music theory, improvisation and each gets to be in their own band. Pianist Salomé Ospina and clarinetist Paloma Cobbs-Silva are two longtime Teagarden campers — now high schoolers — who've been selected to perform at this year's Monterey Jazz Festival. The musicians are a part of the Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo, which was created in 2019 to feature top high school women jazz players from across the United States. Only 6 jazz players are selected from the whole country each year. CapRadio’s Avery Jeffry sat down with the two young musicians to discuss their musical roots, the summer camp that got them into jazz, and the opportunity of a lifetime. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Interview Highlights On getting started on their instruments Paloma Cobbs-Silva: I'm a senior at Rio Americano High School and started playing the clarinet in fourth grade. I went to Deterding Elementary and it's actually required to be in the band program. They start everyone on little plastic recorders and for some reason, I just seemed to excel at it. My band director pulled me aside because she wanted to promote me to an actual instrument, so I chose the clarinet because it seemed the most like the recorder. I actually taught myself how to play music off of YouTube because I wasn't able to afford any lessons. Salomé Ospina: I’m a junior and I go to Rio Americano High School. My parents are both musicians so I've been surrounded by music even before I was born. I started playing piano when I was six and played entirely classical until around the time when COVID started. I was never really in a school band until I came to Rio, and I feel really fortunate to have found a place there where I can use my abilities. On meeting at jazz camp Cobbs-Silva: We both went to the Teagarden Jazz Camp, which is an amazing camp run by the Sacramento Jazz Education Foundation. I went [the] summer before eighth grade, [Salomé’s] summer before seventh grade. That's technically where we met. It was the first time I ever had access to jazz education like that. That's really what sparked it for me and made me realize how amazing jazz is. Ospina: They make it such a welcoming environment and put you with people that are the same level as you. They all really want you to get better. With the amount of time you spend with your band, you start to form a relationship with the other musicians. That's all that jazz is about, being able to communicate. On playing in the Sacramento Jazz Education Foundation Honor Band Cobbs-Silva: It’s called TNT, The New Traditionalists. We've been in it for a minute and it's just such a fun band to be a part of. We’re able to play the traditional style of jazz and I'm so fortunate to do that because that's my passion. Ospina: In this band we rehearse weekly and having that consistency and being able to play music with other high schoolers is just amazing. We also get opportunities to play gigs around town. On playing at the Monterey Jazz Festival Cobbs-Silva: For me, it's just an absolute dream come true. I've actually been trying to get into this group ever since freshman year and now that I'm a senior, it's kind of a big accomplishment. There's just so much opportunity for us at this festival to meet musicians our age from all across the country. It's just such a blessing. Ospina: The fact that it's a six person combo from the whole country but I've known someone that's in this combo and we go to the same school, it's just really awesome that we both get this opportunity. Cobbs-Silva: We've been practicing a lot in regards to the music we're playing. Salomé has an original composition, I have an original composition and a lot of the girls in the group are arranging tunes, too. On advice to other young women getting into jazz Cobbs-Silva: My biggest piece of advice would be to keep going and not give up. There have been many cases where girls start quitting music through high school because of the pressures of being a woman in jazz. It can be very scary and there are a lot of horror stories, but if this is what you love doing and you know you want to do it, then you’ve got to do it. Know that there is a very big community of women in jazz and we all love and support each other. Just don't give up.