Skip to main content

The Rivercity Jazz Society

10/30/2013 09:44AM ● Published by Jon Lewis

Story by Jon Lewis
Photo: Eric Leslie

Howard Bagley, who is in his 80s, got into jazz as a kid growing up in New York City and still digs it. One of his favorites? Paul Senn, a young Redding cat who picked up the trumpet when he was 7 and currently plays in three bands.

Their North State connection? The Rivercity Jazz Society.

Formed in 1985 to support the Shasta Dixieland Festival, the society continued on after the weekend-long, multi-venue Dixieland festivals fell victim to declining attendance and rising costs. 

The society toned things down, choosing instead to focus on live performances on the third Sunday of the month at the Redding Elks Lodge, while expanding the program to include more jazz styles.

Traditional or New Orleans-style jazz is still a focus, says charter member Al Sateren, but the monthly concerts are no stranger to big band and swing as well. “It’s the kind of music I was raised with. All the big bands in the old days: Goodman, Lawrence Welk. If they get a chance to be exposed to it, even country swing. We’ve had inclinations to present some of that music, too,” Sateren says.

Music is a big part of the Rivercity Jazz Society, but the majority of the group’s roughly 120 members like to kick up their heels, as well. “There’s a lot of dancing,” says Pete Westler, the society’s president. “Over two-thirds of the people dance. The Elks Lodge is a real nice room for dancing.”

Westler was drawn to the society after he retired in 1985 from a business of manufacturing and selling Ford Model A parts and his wife, Vi, wanted to take in one of the big Dixieland festivals that were held at hotels on Hilltop Drive.

Both became jazz fanatics and began going to festivals in Redding, Sacramento, Eureka and Medford, Ore. Pete and Vi are Rivercity Jazz Society board members now and thoroughly enjoy the monthly shows.

Bagley’s a board member, as well, and has been part of the society for “15 or 20 years.” His love of jazz goes back even further. “I’ve been into jazz all my life,” he says. “I grew up in New  York City and would go down to a joint called Central Plaza. I’d get free tickets through the Navy USO. I couldn’t believe the jazz scene going on down there.”

The scene in Redding is not too shabby either, thanks in part to the society’s efforts to promote a love of jazz among young musicians. It does that by supporting middle and high school music programs and providing summer jazz camp scholarships to promising players.

“If kids don’t start playing, pretty soon the music goes away,” says Steve Fisher, a saxophonist and leader of the popular Straight Ahead Big Band.

Senn, 29, is an excellent example. Thanks to the society, the accomplished trumpet player was able to work with professional musicians at a summer camp organized by the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, starting at age 13 and continuing for five sessions until he reached the age limit.

“It was a lot of fun,” Senn says of the opportunity to study with pros and perform alongside some of the top students in the state. “It’s hard to find kids around here with the competitive fire who want to be jazz musicians.”

Of course, as the grandson of Rivercity Jazz Society founding members Gene and Shorty Chord, Senn’s fascination with jazz had a head start. Gene Chord was a trumpet player and his wife, Shorty, joined him in his band, The Dixie Chords. 

“They dragged me around to all their gigs, and to the Dixieland Jazz Festival when it began,” says Senn, who fondly recalls a snapshot 

of him at age 6, standing 

on a stage and singing “What a Wonderful World.”

Senn now fronts his own group, The Original Senn Band, and plays with Fisher’s Straight Ahead Big Band and the Shasta College Jazz Big Band. 

Senn will join forces with Fisher and company for the society’s December concert on the 15th and again on Dec. 31 at the Red Lion Hotel for Fisher’s second annual “New York New Year’s Eve” party. The party starts at 6, the big Times Square ball drops at 9 (on TV screens) and the fun ends at 10 pm so folks can go home or on to the next party.  •


www.rivercityjazz.com

In Print all that jazz rivercity jazz society howard bagley steve fisher gene chord shorty chord paul senn redding elks lodge al sateren pete westler
  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/23/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/26/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day I

    01/26/2018
    04:00PM — 08:30PM

    Redding Cultural Cruise is just around the corner, coming Friday, January 26! Participate in t...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day II

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 for Day II of Redding Cultural Cruise! Visit a number of Redding ven...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    01/27/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/28/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Conductor and saxophonist Scott Seaton welcomes Terrie Baune (violin) and John Chernoff (piano) f...


  • North State Symphony

    01/28/2018
    02:00PM

    In this more intimate concert, Maestro Scott Seaton on his saxophone joins Concertmaster Terrie B...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/29/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/23/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/24/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    01/24/2018
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/26/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day I

    01/26/2018
    04:00PM — 08:30PM

    Redding Cultural Cruise is just around the corner, coming Friday, January 26! Participate in t...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day II

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 for Day II of Redding Cultural Cruise! Visit a number of Redding ven...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    01/27/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/28/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Conductor and saxophonist Scott Seaton welcomes Terrie Baune (violin) and John Chernoff (piano) f...


  • North State Symphony

    01/28/2018
    02:00PM

    In this more intimate concert, Maestro Scott Seaton on his saxophone joins Concertmaster Terrie B...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/29/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/30/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/31/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    01/31/2018
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • The Peking Acrobats

    01/31/2018
    07:30PM

    For the last 30 years The Peking Acrobats have inspired fans young and old as they defy gravity w...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/01/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    02/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


  • Sparrow's Landing Open to Public

    02/02/2018
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Furniture, plants, yard art and more! Most items made from repurposed, reclaimed materials. The ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/02/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/02/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    02/02/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    02/02/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


Enter to win!

 

Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living

 

Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors