Wellington Secondary School drummer Daniel Mottahedeh, pianist Petra Dobek, trombonist Mico Valmonte and baritone saxophonist Peter Kang were named top senior soloists at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho on Feb. 23. (Photo courtesy Carmella Luvisotto)

Wellington jazz students do Nanaimo proud at U.S. festival

Four soloists and five ensembles won awards at Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Nanaimo musicians fared well at last weekend’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho.

Four soloists and ensembles from Wellington Secondary School took top honours in their categories at the competition, which drew more than 4,000 students from more than 130 schools from B.C. and the northwest United States.

“We were very overjoyed with our result … a couple of our combos won and they got to perform on the main stage, so I feel like this year we did extremely well,” Wellington band director Carmella Luvisotto said.

Wellington senior soloists Petra Dobek, Peter Kang, Mico Valmonte and Daniel Mottahedeh won for piano, baritone saxophone, trombone and drums, respectively. The school’s Grade 11/12 Quartet, Grade 10/11 Trio, Grade 10 Jazz Band and Rivers/Valmonte Quartet finished first in their respective categories, while the Grade 10/11 Quartet was the Senior Combos Division B runner up.

Luvisotto said the event also featured workshops, clinics and performances by “world renowned” musicians. She said the winners get the honour of performing on the main stage and attributes her students’ success to their perseverance and hard work.

“The seniors that won their solo competitions, they just love the music and they love the jazz and they’re very passionate about it and I think that’s what made them do so well,” she said.

The next big competition for the Wellington jazz students is Canadian nationals in Ottawa in May.


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