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Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to perform at the Alex

Concert to benefit arts, music programs in Glendale Unified schools.

February 01, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will perform Feb. 22, 2014 at the Alex Theatre to benefit music and arts programs at Glendale Unified schools. Two members of the band who live in Glendale have children at Glendale schools.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will perform Feb. 22, 2014 at the Alex… (Photo courtesy…)

A concert to benefit the arts and music programs in Glendale Unified later this month will feature Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, a swing band that’s had major national hits and has local ties — the children of two of its members attend Glendale schools.

The event will be held at the Alex Theatre with an opening performance by the Glendale High School Jazz Band.

Once fellow parent Donna Wittlin heard the band previously performed at Ventura High School and donated all proceeds to the school’s arts and music programs, she suggested the band do the same for Glendale schools. Five of the bandmates live in Ventura.

She brought up the suggestion to Glen Marhevka, a Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School parent who plays trumpet with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

“I hounded him. I just bugged him ‘til I wore him down, I think,” she said, adding that the concert will likely outdo Verdugo Woodland’s typical foundation dinner that parents host each year to raise money for arts programs.

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“We have a lot of talented people in our neighborhood, and how do you turn that into an event that the community can get behind?” she said.

Marhevka was glad to rally the band to support the schools. For the past few years, he has mentored students in the Glendale High School Jazz Band, and he suggested the band open for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the concert.

Later this month, the horn section of the professional band will visit Glendale High to hold a clinic for student musicians attending several local schools, he said.

The majority of ticket sales from the upcoming concert will benefit student musicians at Glendale Unified high schools and middle schools.

“My mantra has been, anything I can do to give back to schools and music programs,” he said.

Marhevka graduated from Hart High School in Newhall, where he was involved in the music program.

“It really helped define who I am,” he said of his involvement as a teen. He went on to earn a music degree from Cal State Northridge and joined Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in 1995, not long after graduating.

“The stars aligned — we got really lucky and worked really hard,” he said. The band played during the Super Bowl halftime show in 1999.

When the band members are on the road, they often conduct clinics for students, and Marhevka’s advice to them is to practice and listen to music often.

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