Free Live Jam Session Featuring MCCC Jazz Band and The Nerds Delights Concertgoers and Brings in Needed Funds 

Upcoming MCCC Jazz Band performances Sunday, April 17 from 5 - 8 p.m. at Cooper’s Riverview in Trenton and Wednesday, May 4 at the Kelsey Theatre

West Windsor, N.J.  – Music fans flocked to the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College (MCCC) to experience live music at the recent “Jam for a Cause”  benefit event which featured food trucks and the Mercer County Community College Jazz Ensemble along with local rock legends, The Nerds. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefited the Watershed Institute of New Jersey — the state’s first environmental group that works to restore clean water and the natural environment in our region through conservation, advocacy, science and education.

For many attendees, it was the first time at a live event since the pandemic began. 

“So many community members told me how beautiful the campus is and how glad they were to be back out,” remarked MCCC Director of Student Life and Leadership, Danielle Garruba. “Some said this is the first event they have attended since the start of Covid-19 and they were so appreciative that MCCC hosted this fun event on campus.”

Although it was a somewhat-chilly Monday night, fun was had by all as evidenced by the spontaneous dancing and sing-a-longs that took place throughout the evening.

The MCCC Jazz Ensemble kicked off the event as openers for New Jersey’s favorite cover band The Nerds. With approximately 150 guests in attendance, food trucks did a bang-up business during the evening of musical entertainment complete with hoola-hoop dancers and colorful arena-type lighting for the band.

Garruba said, “The food trucks donated $300 combined and according to Christian Perez, [the MCCC Student Government Association President] the entire SGA team matched the donation which brought the grand total to $600. We could not be happier that the Watershed Institute is receiving this donation. They truly are a wonderful organization.”

One of the evening's highlights was when MCCC Jazz Band and Music Director Scott Hornick and the student Jazz Band members took to the outdoor stage on the MCCC Quad and showcased their musicianship to the public, which was composed of family members, friends, students, current and former alumni, community members and music lovers from in and around the state.

“The students haven’t had much of a chance to play to a live audience due to Covid,” said Hornick. “We are really excited to be out and to have an opportunity to open for The Nerds. It is a real treat,” he said.

A stage area was set up under tents at each end of the Quad to accommodate the performers while a variety of food trucks parked nearby to satiate the appetites of the hungry music fans. 

The MCCC Jazz Ensemble started promptly at 6 p.m. The band, which this year consists of 16 students, played a variety of favorites including the classic jazz hit “Fever” which was sung by vocalist Camryn LeCain, the instrumental “Spain” by Chick Corea, the seventies AM radio favorite “Sunny” sung by Maho Kurisu written by (Bobby Hebb) that featured an impressive solo by student pianist Collin Corriveau.

Hornick explained that  the evening wouldn’t be complete without some sort of musical reference to the pandemic.

“We decided to throw in a quasi-pandemic-related tune by Tower of Power called “Soul Vaccination,” said Hornick. 

Now that Covid restrictions have been relaxed, the Jazz Band has more live performances lined up for the spring and summer, the next being on April 17 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Cooper’s Riverview in Trenton followed by a May 4 performance at the Kelsey Theatre on the MCCC Campus on 1200 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor.

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The Mercer County Community College Jazz Band was the opening act at the “Jam for a Cause” outdoor event featuring New Jersey's popular cover band, The Nerds. A portion of the proceeds of food truck sales benefited the Watershed Institute of New Jersey. MCCC Jazz Band pictured above: Kayla Hawkins-Flute, Isabel Pluchino-Harp, Catherine Wetzell-Harp, Maho Kurisu-Vocals, Collin C.C. Corriveau-Piano, Camryn LeCain-Vocals, Scott Hornick-Bass and Music Dept. Coordinator, Patrick Kline-Alto Sax, Jalen Johnson-Trombone and Trumpet, Aidan Kewley-Trombone, Kyrie Miller-Guitar, Danny Domenech-Drums, Eddie Berkeyheiser-Guitar, Jovan Rivera-Tenor Saxophone, David Greiff-Drums, Matt Gargiullo-Vibraphone and Congas. (Photo credit: MCCC)



Students enjoyed good eats between sets during April’s “Jam for a Cause” concert featuring the Mercer County Community College Jazz Band and New Jersey's popular cover band, The Nerds. Pictured above from left: Biology major Jasmin Ceveda from Trenton, Engineering major Nhya Gordon of Hightstown, Education major Jacob Kaczorowski of Hamilton, Architecture major Andrew Kaczorowski of Hamilton and Game Design major James Kim of Princeton. (Photo credit: MCCC)



 Music Technology student Cameron Babula (on left) played lead guitar during The Nerds' rendition of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” at MCCC’s “Jam for a Cause” free outdoor event in April. (Photo credit: MCCC)