Moorpark College to honor legendary band director Michael Gangemi in celebratory “All About Jazz” performance


Pianist and Music major Matt Latta, 19, center, rehearses with the rest of the Jazz A band, for the upcoming performance of “All About Jazz” on Dec. 10. Photo credit: Emily Mireles

By Claire Boeck

The Moorpark College Music Department is preparing a student-led jazz performance in celebration of local music community leader and director Michael Gangemi on May 5 in the Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m.

Titled “All About Jazz,” the performance will feature songs from Gangemi’s own Lane 29 Orchestra, as well as several Westlake High School alumni vocalists who used to perform with Gangemi in the orchestra.

Gangemi, also fondly known as “Mr. G” or even “G” passed away on June 20, 2021, due to an ongoing battle with liver and kidney problems.

Gangemi left behind a legacy spanning over 30 years of dedication to music and local music education, including jobs at Westlake High School, Colina Middle School, Moorpark High School and Moorpark College.

To those that knew him, Gangemi’s passion for music was nearly unrivaled. He received several awards and was involved in numerous music organizations, such as the California Band Directors Association.

Moorpark College Jazz and Wind Ensemble Director Brendan McMullin is organizing the event and had a personal connection to Gangemi.

“In the early to mid-90s, somehow he found out about me and he asked me to play trombone in his Lane 29 orchestra in its early days,” McMullin said. “Which was part of the reason I got super stoked and excited about jazz music.”

Gangemi’s mother and sister will be in attendance, according to McMullin. They’ll be arriving all the way from Colorado.

“I owe him a lot, personally,” McMullin said. “We’re honoring him with this concert.”

Tickets will cost $20 for adults and $15 for students and senior citizens. There is a discounted price if tickets are purchased online in advance.

For more information on the performance and all other upcoming events in the Performing Arts Center, click here.