Rogue musical act aids Darfur

Fresno State’s Dr. Benjamin Boone will serve up some “hot jazz� at this year’s Rogue Festival, along with Grammy award-winning drummer Steve Mitchell.

This is Boone’s very first Rogue Festival performance in the seven years he has been with Fresno State.

“I’ve wanted to do it for the last several years,� Boone said, who is as an associate professor in music department. “An opportunity came up to play with Steve Mitchell and I couldn’t pass that up.�

Mitchell, who performed with artists such as Van Morrison and Joe Henderson, has also worked on the music behind the Charlie Brown television specials. Boone and Mitchell will be accompanied by Fresno State’s own Craig VonBerg of the music department, as well as musical guests from Fresno City College.

“Quite frankly, I’m nervous to play with him,� Boone said of Mitchell. With no predetermined set to perform, the pair plans to spice things up with “tons of improvisations,� Boone said.

“What you can expect is some really hot, exciting jazz,� he continued. “I’m sure every show will be unique and different.� On the menu for the performances are samplings of Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban music, blues and acid jazz, to name a few.

Boone and the Steve Mitchell Quartet performed last week at the Rogue Festival and are set to perform again March 9 and 10. The proceeds from their March 3 Rogue performance were collected and will be sent to aid those affected by the ongoing conflict in Darfur.

“What’s going on in Darfur right now is absolutely horrendous,� Boone said. “You have thousands and thousands of people being killed and inadequate living situations. This is one way we can help show people that there are other places in the world that need our help and attention.�

The idea to send aid to Darfur came from Mitchell’s daughter, Selena Mitchell-Quan. Mitchell-Quan, a Fresno resident, suggested the idea to her father to raise money for Solar Cookers International.

This group sends solar-powered cooking machines to those in third-world countries to aid in their survival. Solar Cookers International also sends cookers to those in refugee camps who lack an efficient way to prepare food or procure safe drinking water.

The proceeds from the March 3 show will help purchase free-standing solar cookers for Sudan in the hopes of satisfying the basic needs of those caught in the conflict.

“I felt like my father’s talents and Ben Boone’s talents put together could really get some money for this cause,� Mitchell-Quan said.

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