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Three-Peat for Jazzschool Studio Band at 2011 Next Generation Festival
(Published: April 11, 2011)

The Jazzschool's Monday Night Studio Band, under the direction of Keith Johnson, won 1st place for the third consecutive year following its performance on Sunday, April 3, at the Annual Next Generation Festival (41st Annual National High School Competition) in Monterey, California.

The weekend event includes the Next Generation Festival Jazz Competition with Big Bands, Combos, Vocal Ensembles, and individual musicians from ten states vying for a spot on the stages of the 53rd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

The Jazzschool band performed in the highly competitive Conglomerate Big Band Division, for which only six bands are selected nationwide. (The Jazzschool's Monday Night and Thursday Night Studio Bands have been selected for the last three years.) Winning second place this year was the American Music Program Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra from Portland, Oregon under the direction of Thara Memory. Third place went to the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars from San Francisco; Paul Cantos, director.

Their first-place finish guarantees the Monday Night Studio Band the opportunity to perform at this year's Monterey Jazz Festival.

Trumpeter Zach Ramacier of the Monday Night and Thursday Night Studio Bands received an Outstanding Soloist Award from the adjudicators.

"Winning this division for the past three years has been truly special for me, not because of the trophies or the ‘wins' but because every year this event brings out the very best in my students," said Keith Johnson, who is the Young Musicians Program Director at the Jazzschool. "The students oozed musicality and put on one of the best performances I have ever been a part of. I am so proud of the band for everything they've done to achieve this incredible feat. I consider myself to be one of the luckiest educators in the world because I get to work with so many passionate, gifted young musicians who have been an amazing source of inspiration for me."

"Being in the studio bands has completely changed my perspective on music," says trombonist and five-year studio band veteran Jake Lengacher. "Playing at the festival has shown me what's possible when a group of great players gets together and truly communicates."

"The Studio Bands have taught me the importance of knowing your role in a song," says alto saxophonist Sam Priven, a member for three years, "and through Monterey Jazz Festival, the necessity to truly give yourself fearlessly to the music."

A parent's perspective comes from Amy Strange, mother of pianist Nick Lamb (a three-year veteran): "The Studio Band has been amazing--more powerful than any parental lecture could possibly be about the importance of working hard for the opportunity to play with outstanding talented peers and a truly gifted director, to be dedicated and diligent, to support each other and to work as a team as you strive for excellence. Wins and general success has led to horizon-expanding opportunities for travel and enrichment that reach beyond music."

Adds Jazzschool Founder/Director Susan Muscarella: "The band kept their eyes on the prize--the music! I couldn't be prouder of them all."

Monday Night Studio Band Personnel--Saxophones: Sam Priven, Jill Ryan, Tad Nicol, Robert Sheppard, Evan Waltmire. Trumpets: Josh Shpak, Zach Ramacier, Scott Bell, Trevor Anderson. Trombones: Christopher Palowitch, Calvin Barthel, Jakob Lengacher, Anna Rubenstein. Rhythm: Nick Lamb (p), Erik Shiboski (b), John Spencer (d).

Music Performed: "Airegin" (Sonny Rollins, arr. Michael Abene). "First Snow" (Dave Holland). "The First Circle" (Pat Metheny, arr. Bob Curnow).

More Information: http://www.jazzschool.org

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