Evan Christopher Returns to Idyllwild to Headline Jazz in the Pines

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Idyllwild experience helped shape his musical career

BY MARCIA GAWECKIEvan Christopher recalls the first time he saw snow.

Or rode a horse.

It was in Idyllwild.

At age 16, world-renowned clarinetist Evan Christopher was attending Los Alamitos High School and nearly dropped out. Then he went to a summer jazz camp at Idyllwild Arts and they convinced him to spend his senior year there.

“I was bored (in public school), and only needed two classes to graduate, and Idyllwild Arts needed bodies,” Evan Christopher says during a phone interview from his home in New Orleans. “There was no orchestra back then. There was one string quartet, one brass quartet, one woodwind quintet and a choral group. It also had some piano and guitar majors.”

In 1987, Christopher was part of the first graduating class at Idyllwild Arts, formerly known as ISOMATA or Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts.

Now he’s returning this week as a headliner for the 21st Annual Jazz in the Pines, Aug. 16-17, on the art school campus. Christopher will perform Aug. 16 with fellow Idyllwild Arts alum, trombonist Jason Jackson.

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