Brewer High jazz ensemble scores big at Berklee Jazz Festival

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Posted March 25, 2012, at 4:32 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — The Brewer High School Jazz Ensemble played their hearts out at the 2012 Berklee Jazz Festival in Boston earlier this month and walked away with the top honor for their class, music director Brady Harris said proudly last week.

“The ensemble put on an electrifying show featuring several extremely talented musicians,” he said.

Two of his student musicians, Kristin Daigle and Steven Loftin, also earned outstanding musicianship honors for their performances.

Brewer competed against 15 bands from all over New England at the 44th annual jazz festival, held March 10 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Brady said.

“Brewer placed first, ahead of South Portland, Brunswick and Hampden Academy,” he said.

Hampden Academy student Jacob Michaud and Cheverus student Nathan Caso also earned outstanding musicianship honors for their performances, the festival’s website states.

Other Maine winners include: Nokomis Regional High School, second in Class 5 for the large ensemble and third for the combo ensemble; Cheverus High School, second in Class 2 for the vocal jazz ensemble; and Maine Central Institute, third in Class 2 for the vocal jazz ensemble.

Brewer took two bands to this year’s event and the jazz band, which performed in the large noncompeting category, scored sixth out of 17 bands.

“Alto saxophonist Jessica Cunney was recognized by the judges, receiving the ‘judges’ choice’ award for her solo work on ‘Goodbye, My Heart,’” Brady said.

There were five awards for each class division, based on school size, and more than 5,000 people came out to watch the approximately 200 jazz ensembles perform, the festival’s website states.

With 200 ensembles and more than 3,000 student musician participants, the Berklee event is one of the country’s largest high school jazz festivals.

Brewer High School also competed at the State Jazz Festival, held March 16 and 17 at Mount Desert Island High School.

The jazz ensemble took third in its division, the jazz combo placed third in Division 1, and the jazz combo 2 team earned a fourth-place finish in the combo division, Brady said.

“Nick Turner and Kristin Daigle received outstanding musician awards for their work on trumpet,” he said.

The music department will present a Pops Concert on April 4 at the Brewer Performing Arts Center, located at the track side of the new Brewer Community School on Pendleton Street. Admission to the Pops Concert is $3 for adults, $2 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the high school in the Brewer Music Box Office or by calling 989-4140.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/25/living/brewer-high-jazz-ensemble-scores-big-at-berklee-jazz-festival/ printed on September 17, 2014