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Wellington Secondary School jazz students earn top honours at U.S. festival

Total of five soloists and ensembles won awards at Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival last month
Thea Guitard, back left, Koen Podritske, Elijah Geddes, Sarah Stevenson and Garrett Tomkins made up the quintet of Wellington Secondary School jazz students who won the instrumental combo category A award at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival last month. (Photo by Marcus Morosan)

Wellington Secondary School’s Jazz Academy students had to declare themselves as winners as they crossed the border returning home from an international jazz festival last month.

At the 56th annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, many Wellington students took home individual and group awards between April 20-22, competing among approximately 2,000 students throughout Canada and the United States.

According to a release, Grade 12 vocalist Sarah Stevenson received top honours in category A and won the vocal sweepstakes contest during the evening concert on April 21, as well as the Alta Vista Foundation scholarship.

Thea Guitard, in Grade 12, swept her category to first place in the instrumental jazz solo category A.

The Jonathan Pearce and Sarah Stevenson duo won their instrumental jazz combo division on bass and vocals, and a quintet of Elijah Geddes, Thea Guitard, Garrett Tomkins, Sarah Stevenson and Koen Podritske also won A combo division.

The Grade 10 jazz combo I, of students Ava Rihani on piano, Garrett Tomkins on drums, Kash Corfield on bass, Hannah Duffell on clarinet and Addison Vinning on flute won the B division.

Wellington also finished up with four runners-up: the other Grade 10 combo II, the senior jazz band in the A instrumental jazz band division, the Grade 10 jazz band in the B instrumental jazz band division, and flutist Elijah Geddes, Grade 12, in the instrumental jazz solo category A.

Wellington Secondary Jazz Academy students will compete again this month, according to the release, at the West Coast Jazz Festival in Nanaimo and at Music Fest Canada in Niagara Falls.

READ MORE: Wellington Jazz Academy has strong showing at Surrey Schools Jazz Festival

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