Music students from Nanaimo’s Wellington Secondary School fared well at MusicFest Canada and this year, the school’s band director was recognized for her role in their success.
An online edition of the annual festival was held from May 24 to 27, with music students from across Canada sending in video performances for adjudication. Of the 11 groups from Wellington, eight won gold and three won silver. Ten students also received individual awards for their efforts
A virtual award ceremony was held on May 27, and Wellington band director Carmella Luvisotto was named winner of the 2021 Tommy Banks/National Arts Centre Orchestra Outstanding Jazz Director Award. She will receive a plaque and a $500 prize.
In her video remarks, Luvisotto said she was “truly honoured” to receive the award, which is named after Alberta jazz pianist, entertainer and senator Tommy Banks, who died in 2018. Luvisotto said Banks used to adjudicate her bands at MusicFest and performed with them often.
“I have always looked up to Tommy Banks both as a musician and educator,” she said in her video. “I appreciated all he did for music education and young student musicians.”
In her speech, Luvisotto also expressed thanks to the jazz band directors she had during her high school and university years and she credited her father for instilling in her the love of jazz from the age of five.
“Music is such an important part of everyone’s everyday lives, especially in today’s world…” she said. “After 24 years of teaching, I am so thankful that I’m able to share my love of jazz with my own students and guide them through their high school music education.”
Since winning the award, Luvisotto told the News Bulletin she’s been inundated by congratulations.
“The congrats from so many people have been overwhelming, but truly appreciated,” she said. “It’s very nice to know that I’m appreciated in the Nanaimo community and across Canada.”