Wellington Jazz Academy members returned from MusicFest Canada laden with gold and silver accolades.
Four Wellington Secondary School jazz combos competed and won two golds and two silver awards at the national competition, which was held in Niagara Falls, Ont., May 14-19.
“It’s really exciting … to be able to attain two golds and two silvers. I am very proud of them,” said Carmella Luvisotto, band director for Wellington Secondary School.
The VUT Trio, consisting of Patrick Thompson, Tev Uslu and Kaiden Vichert won gold as did the Wong/Nixon Quintet, which includes Veronica Wong, Hayley Nixon, Thompson, Uslu and Nigel Lum.
Silver winners were the Pearce/Nixon Quintet consisting of Claire Pearce, Clementine Nixon, Thompson, Uslu and Lum and the Gabby Poystila Quartet of Gabby Poystila, Thompson, Uslu and Lum.
Thompson, Uslu, Vichert and Wong also received honour awards for their performances.
Uslu received a full tuition to attend the Douglas College summer jazz camp.
“He really held the band together and was exceptional,” said Luvisotto about why Uslu was chosen to receive the prize.
Thompson won the $1,000 Lou Williamson Scholarship. Luvisotto said Thompson was recognized for his exceptional rhythm playing.
Thompson and Uslu also performed with the Conn Selmer National Honour Jazz Band. They were two of 21 performers chosen from across Canada.
MusicFest Canada was founded in 1972 by a “handful of Canadian musicians who created the country’s first jazz band festival,” according to the organization’s website.
The festival now has four divisions: the Canadian stage band festival jazz division, choral/vocal jazz, concert band and orchestra and string division.
Participants in the festival range in ages from 12-25 years old and are from elementary, high school, college and university levels.
For more information, please visit https://musicfest.ca.