It is going to be a farewell concert of sorts for Kent saxophonist Darren Motamedy at the third annual Evening of Jazz and Art June 24 at the Kent Senior Activity Center.
Motamedy, the 2008 Kent School District teacher of the year for his work as a band instructor at several elementary schools, will move this summer to Las Vegas to teach band and jazz band at a middle school there.
“My days here are numbered,” said Motamedy, 51, who graduated from Kentridge High School and has lived 41 years in Kent. “It’s time for a change. I will miss it. I love teaching and the students here.”
Motamedy plays from 7-8 p.m. on the outdoor stage at the Evening of Jazz and Art.
“It’s going to be great,” Motamedy said about playing at the free concert at the senior center. “Kent is my hometown. And all of my students can come see me play.”
Concert goers can bring their own outdoor chairs, blankets and umbrellas. The concert goes on, rain or shine. If it rains, fans will have access to limited indoor seating.
“I’m just hoping the weather’s great,” Motamedy said.
Motamedy started to look for another teaching job about 18 months ago when it appeared the Kent School District would cut fifth-grade band in 2009-2010. The district kept the programs this year but has cut fifth-grade band and orchestra for 2010-2011.
Motamedy said he recently received an offer to teach band in Kent at the middle-school or high-school level, but already had accepted the middle-school offer in Las Vegas. He has taught full-time for five years in Kent after nearly 20 years as a substitute teacher in the district to supplement his professional musician career.
The move to Las Vegas with his wife and the two youngest of their three children ages 20, 18 and 11, gives Motamedy a chance to start a new chapter in his life.
“My wife and I went there (to Las Vegas) two years ago to visit and loved it,” Motamedy said. “Then on my 50th birthday she asked me what I wanted to do next year and I said I wanted to live in a warmer place.”
They agreed Las Vegas would be the destination.
Motamedy also looks forward to finding venues to play in Las Vegas. He plays a few times a week in the Seattle area and has a had a regular Sunday night performance for the last 18 months at the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn where he has played with jazz artists Ronnie Laws, Steve Oliver, Jeff Lorber, Tom Scott, Marcus Johnson and others.
“The opportunity to play will be much greater,” said Motamedy, who has recorded nine smooth-jazz albums. “I’ll be an outsider, but it will be good to play for different audiences.”
Besides the Evening of Jazz and Art Concert, Motamedy also will play from noon to 1 p.m. Aug. 10 at the free Take Out Tuesday concert series at Kent Station.
Prior to Motamedy taking the stage at the Evening of Jazz and Art, the Seattle-based jazz band Pearl Django plays from 5-6 p.m.