Senior and junior jazz band students at W.L Seaton secondary school are still buzzing from their recent experience at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho.
Led by Seaton band teacher Geoff Dolman, the students travelled across the border to the prestigious festival, held at the University of Idaho, Feb. 25 to 28.
Both bands performed three songs for the judges adjudicating the festival, and received high marks and were recognized as outstanding jazz ensembles. They were also chosen to play at the Best of the Bands evening performance Feb. 26, which celebrated the top performers of all of the student jazz bands that competed that day.
In addition, a combo consisting of Jacob Soucy (trumpet), Nathan Nesbitt (saxophone), Nolan Bassett (double bass), Carson Bassett (drums), Craig Matterson (piano) and CJ Panganiban (bass guitar) played three tracks, which impressed the judges, said parent Elizabeth Ariano, who wrote a report on the trip.
“The young musicians were so excited to be playing on the big stage where some of the biggest names in jazz music were also in concert,” said Ariano. “The evening was capped with more amazing performances by the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Big Band, with Warren Wolf and vocalist Barbara Morrison, and the high energy swing sounds of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.”
This is the 31st year Dolman has brought Seaton bands to this celebration of music. For 49 years, the festival, named after the famed jazz vibraphonist, has been one of the largest and oldest educational jazz festivals in the world.
“With more than 400 student performances, a dozen world-class jazz artists on four main stages and 100 workshops, clinics and special exhibits, the students were kept very busy over the course of the weekend,” said Ariano.
The students started the festival with music-related workshops, which were taught by professional musicians and university professors.
Topics ranged from jazz improvisation to the science-minded “what could be growing in my instrument” and “math and the musical scale.”
In the evening, the students were inspired by the best of the student vocal competitors and enjoyed performances by The Monty Alexander Trio and popular R&B band Tower of Power.
“It was an amazing weekend of music and education for Seaton’s young musicians and it was very evident that jazz music is alive and well in North America and definitely in Vernon, thanks to Geoff Dolman,” said Ariano.
The Seaton jazz bands next competition will take place in April at the B.C. Interior Jazz Festival in Kelowna. This is a qualifier for the National High School Jazz competition in Ottawa.