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St. Margaret’s Band Director Spends Off-Hours Playing Alongside World Famous Singer

Chris Carbajal has played in front of thousands as part of singer Ebi's band.
Chris Carbajal juggles a lot, between serving as band director at St. Margaret’s and spending time with his young family.
In the spaces between his commitments, though, Mr. Carbajal finds time to perform as a professional musician, playing with different bands in and around California.
Recently, he has been performing with legendary Iranian singer Ebi, whom Mr. Carbajal calls “the Frank Sinatra of the Iranian community.”
The world-renowned Ebi, full name Ebrahim Hamedi, has released more than 30 albums in a long career in music, and has played in sold-out shows around the globe. He has more than 2.3 million Instagram followers and continues to enjoy an enduring popularity five decades after his debut.
Mr. Carbajal was contacted by a representative of Ebi’s after hearing him perform with another band. Mr. Carbajal was offered the opportunity to be lead alto sax with Ebi when his schedule allowed.
His priority as St. Margaret’s band director limits the amount of commitments he can make, but Mr. Carbajal has participated in unforgettable performances both live and in studio. He was a part of sold-out shows at Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, the latter drawing a crowd of 7,500 fans. In addition, he recorded with Ebi in Capitol Records’ famed Studio A late last year, a session he called a bucket-list experience.
Mr. Carbajal said his outside works helps reinforce teaching tips that he passes on to students, such as sight reading and using a metronome.
But there’s another aspect he’s noticed working with Ebi that he’ll pass on to his students.
“I’m learning social aspects of being a musician,” Mr. Carbajal said. “It’s fun to play with nice people. Encouragement is a big part of performing. If someone plays the wrong note, it’s okay. Pick them up, don’t put them down. We’re all in the same band here.”
Mr. Carbajal won’t be able to perform in the upcoming stops on Ebi’s world tour, which is currently overseas and includes stops in Paris, Dubai and Hamburg. But if the legendary singer is back in the United States performing later this year, Mr. Carbajal hopes to say yes.
“I’m a teacher first and a performer second,” Mr. Carbajal said. “But I owe it to my students to be active in music outside of teaching hours.”
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