Arts and Entertainment

Jazz ensembles perform at Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

Jazz band students from Langley Middle School and South Whidbey High School headed to Moscow, Idaho on Feb. 24 for a weekend full of jazz workshops, competitions and performances at the 2010 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.

The high school jazz ensemble again proved its mettle and was judged top Class A High School Jazz Ensemble.

The Langley Middle School Jazz Band also performed well, and jazz band director Jess Foley said she was proud of the musicianship, behavior, patience, attitude, team spirit, caring qualities and strength shown by the middle school students who participated.

With four days of competition and about 10,000 participants, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is the world’s largest educational jazz fest. School groups from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada each played a 20-minute set for judges from academic and professional backgrounds. Winners in each class later performed at the University of Idaho’s huge Kibbie Dome.

The best soloists in each instrument category played together in a special jam session held onstage after the main events.

Taking top honors was South Whidbey’s Eric Vanderbilt-Mathews, who was chosen as one of two “Best Piano Soloists” at the festival. Vanderbilt-Mathews narrowly missed winning the ‘Best Alto Sax Player’

award, as well, receiving 29 of a possible 30 points in the judging.

The jazz ensemble’s performance can be seen at

The public is invited to hear these outstanding musicians of the high school jazz ensemble perform at the free spring concert at South Whidbey High School at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 18. The middle school jazz musicians will perform in concert Wednesday, March 17 in the auditorium at Langley Middle School.

The high school band will also perform at Tula’s in downtown Seattle at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, opening for the professional Music Works Jazz Ensemble.

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