NUSD School Bands Earn Accolades at Reno Jazz Festivals

MSA Jazz Choir
MSA Jazz Choir

Talented Novato students made a strong showing at the Reno Jazz Festival April 12, with two of the four jazz bands representing the Marin School of the Arts at Novato High School winning their high school divisions at the competition.

Under the direction of MSA Jazz Studies Director Dave Gregoric, Jazz Band 1 took first place in the AAAA division, the highest rated high school division with 12 bands competing. Jazz Band 4 also took first place in their high school division (APII) with seven bands competing. In addition, Jazz Band 1 bassist Kanoa Mendenhall won an Outstanding High School Performer award.

Jazz Band 2 earned third place in the AAA high school division, and Jazz Band 3 earned high marks as well. Led by MSA Vocal Music Director Stevie Greenwell, the MSA Jazz Choir performed exceptionally well at the competition, placing sixth out of 14 choirs; earning a higher score than last year, though just short of placing in their division.

San Jose Middle School Jazz Band also performed exceptionally well, placing sixth in the middle school division, after competing against 18 middle school bands.

Many NUSD students received individual awards for outstanding solo performances.  MSA students receiving an award include: Kelsey Sides, Renny Conti, Gabe Grabovac, Celina Ventanilla, Lauren Leabo, Kanoa Mendenhall, Dylan Hayes, Christine Oczkus, Amanda Albini, Evan Bernardy, Trent Eisenberg, Anthony Ferrara, Dylan Hayes, Patrick Kelley, Peter Saathoff-Harshfield, Megan MacQuarrie, Jasmine Sagebie,l Jackson Torchon, Tristan Mitchell Boyadjiev, Vanessa Silva, Leah Davis and Katie Osborn.

San Jose students receiving outstanding solo performances included Silvia Kacic, Bryan Darlington, Omar Velasquez, and Molly Phelan.  In addition, an outstanding solo award was given to the entire saxophone section: Silvia Kacic, Erin Marino, Jack Byram, Alex Benjamin, Caleb Jerinic Brodeur, Jason Hines and Brandon Wu.

The Reno Jazz Festival began in 1962 at the University of Nevada, Reno, growing to become one of the largest educational jazz festivals in the United States hosting bands from across the west. The weekend-long gathering includes music clinics for students, as well as concerts with jazz professionals.

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