OAKLAND -- Skyline High School's is on the road to a trophy, beginning by way of venerable jazz club Yoshi's.

The band is playing a benefit at Yoshi's in order to raise money to get to the Reno Jazz Festival in April, where they'll do their best to represent the city by competing against other high school bands from across the western United States.

"The quality of arts education, music education in Oakland is very high," said Vincent Tolliver, Skyline's instrumental music teacher.

As the only Oakland public school going to the competition, the Skyline band is representing more than their own school. Last year, their first in a higher competition level, they came third -- behind a music magnet and a private school.

"We always get very, very high ratings," Tolliver said.

Tolliver said the dedication of students and parents is what makes the band so great.

Parent Jocelyn Wong-Rolle, whose son Andrew is the student director of the band, said the music program, while a commitment, helps keeps the students focused.

"I think they really get a lot out of it," Wong-Rolle said.

But getting 25 students to Reno doesn't come cheaply, which is why the fundraiser is important.

"We don't want finances to get in the way," Tolliver said.

The band will play two shows at Oakland's Jack London Square Yoshi's on Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. The 25-member big band will play, but there will be smaller ensembles and vocalists, too, playing everything from Latin jazz to blues, and soul to funk.


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Not only is it a major fundraiser, it's also a chance for the kids to experience playing at a real, and famous, jazz club.

"That is probably the highlight concert," Tolliver said.

Tickets are $15 for the 7 p.m. show, which usually sells out, and $10 for the 9 p.m. show. Tolliver said no one would be turned away, and he's encouraging anyone who likes jazz to come.

Wong-Rolle agreed.

"It's nice entertainment even if you don't have a child in the program," she said.

if you go
What: Skyline Jazz Band
When: 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26
Where: Yoshi's at Jack London Square, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland
Tickets: $15 for the 7 p.m. show and $10 for the 9 p.m. show
Information: Call 510-238-9200 or go to www.yoshis.com/oakland