The Wellington senior jazz band was named Best Senior Band at this past weekend’s Surrey Schools Jazz Festival. (Photo supplied)

Wellington Jazz Academy has strong showing at Surrey Schools Jazz Festival

Senior band and individual students earn top awards

Wellington Secondary School’s senior jazz band earned top honours and 11 students received awards and recognition this past weekend at the 38th Surrey Schools Jazz Festival.

Wellington Jazz Academy sent a contingent of 46 students from its senior and Grade 9 jazz bands to the competition to face off against bigger schools from across the Lower Mainland. Wellington band director Carmella Luvisotto said “we didn’t expect so many awards.”

“It’s one of the more highly competitive provincial festivals,” she said. “The schools that we were competing against are like 2,000 kids and Wellington’s got less than 1,000 so we’re quite happy that we could hold our own against schools with huge band programs and lots of kids.”

The Wellington senior jazz band was named Best Senior Band and its rhythm section was named Best Senior Rhythm Section.

Grade 12 drummer Daniel Mottahedeh took home honours as the festival’s Most Outstanding Senior Musician, Best Senior Drummer and Best Senior Auxiliary Percussionist. Grade 11 pianist Petra Dobek was named Most Outstanding Senior Piano Player and was awarded a $500 scholarship. Grade 12 trumpeter Rowan Sholberg was named Most Outstanding Lead Trumpet Player.

“We had a lot of junior students there and so for them that was an inspiration to them of where they could be at some point later on in their schooling,” Luvisotto said of the seniors’ success.

Tom Lee Music gift cards for “special recognition” went to Mottahedeh, Dobek, Grade 12 drummer Jesse Scott-Bradley, Grade 12 vocalist Isabella Cooper, Grade 11 guitarist Cameron Boudrot, Grade 9 vocalist Sarah Stevenson, Grade 9 baritone saxophonist Sandro Jost and Grade 9 bassist Jonathan Pearce.

Grade 11 baritone saxophonist Philip Morosan and Grade 10 tenor saxophonist Kareem Hassib were named to the Surrey Rep Bands.

The students don’t have too much time to rest on the laurels. Today they leave for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho and next up on the festival schedule is the West Coast Jazz Festival at VIU in April and MusicFest nationals in Calgary in May.

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