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High note: 70 performances in 24 hours

San Diego quartet the Leonard Patton Group set new Guinness Record on Aug. 9.

The Leonard Patton Group, with Leonard Patton on vocals, bassist Mackenzie Leighton, drummer Matt Smith, and keyboardist Ed Kornhauser, attempting to set the Guinness World Records for live music by performing at 70 San Diego County locations in just 24 hours, starting at 10am on May 2, performs in the garden at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, the 15th stop on their 70 venue attempt. (Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune)

The second time was the charm for the San Diego quartet the Leonard Patton Group, which Wednesday morning appeared to have set a new Guinness World Records mark for most live musical performances in a 24-hour period.

The award-winning San Diego jazz and soul singer and his band first tried on May 2 to best the previous record, set in 2012 by Norwegian guitarist-singer Helge Toft and his band. But the Patton group’s 55 performances in a day fell 10 short of the 65 completed by Toft five years ago.

On Tuesday morning, Patton and his group gave it a second try. This time they succeeded.

On Wednesday, shortly before 10 a.m., they completed their 70th performance in 24 hours at Santee’s Off Broadway Live. It was the 70th venue they played in — topping Toft’s record by a full five performances — and Patton finished a few minutes ahead of schedule.

“I feel good,” the sleep-deprived singer said Wednesday morning, “especially considering we hardly had any down time at all. I got my second wind earlier this morning and I feel fine.”

Bassist Mackenzie Leighton, a member of The Leonard Patton Group carries his bass to the next venue after playing at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, the 15th stop on their 70 venue attempt to set the Guinness World Records for live music by performing at 70 San Diego County locations in just 24 hours. (Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune)

As was the case on May 2, Patton was accompanied at each of his “70 in 24” performances Tuesday and Wednesday by bassist Mackenzie Leighton, drummer Matt Smith and keyboardist and melodica player Ed Kornhauser.

“Forgive me if I sound a little addled; we’ve been up for 27 hours now,” said Kornhauser, speaking — like Patton — by phone Wednesday morning from Santee. “I fell asleep a few times on stage last night and this morning, but then I snapped right back.”

Patton and his band were required to adhere to strict Guinness rules. Each of their 70 performance had to be videotaped, last at least 10 minutes and be confirmed by two official witnesses, who could each work for no more than four hours at a time.

Patton credits better planning for enabling his band to succeed this time, after falling short in May. Rather than use several vehicles, which led to logistical snafus four months ago, he rented a 15-passenger van so that the judges, musicians and their support crew could all travel together from venue to venue.

Athena Espinoza keeps track of the progress of The Leonard Patton Group, with Leonard Patton on vocals, bassist Mackenzie Leighton, drummer Matt Smith, and keyboardist Ed Kornhauser, as they attempt to set the Guinness World Records for live music by performing at 70 San Diego County locations in just 24 hours. (Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune)

But Patton, who is the choir director at Southwestern College, had a goal with his “70 in 24” performances beyond setting a new Guinness record. Namely, to promote his new nonprofit organization, the Jazz Vocal Workshop, which he launched to provide free music instruction at schools across San Diego County.

On Thusday night, Patton begins his second week as a co-star in “Pump up the Volume: A ’90s-Palooza,” the new, high-energy San Diego Musical Theatre production at the Horton Grand Theatre. But on Wednesday, he had another, more pressing, matter in mind.

“As soon as I drive everyone home and return the rental van,” he said Wednesday morning, “I’m going home to take a long nap.”

The Leonard Patton Group, with Leonard Patton on vocals, bassist Mackenzie Leighton, drummer Matt Smith, and keyboardist Ed Kornhauser, attempting to set the Guinness World Records for live music by performing at 70 San Diego County locations in just 24 hours. (Howard Lipin/San Diego Union-Tribune)

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