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Valedictorian Ian Marsanyi

Ian Marsanyi is one of South Whidbey High School
Ian Marsanyi is one of South Whidbey High School's six valedictorians in the Class of 2009.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

Ian Marsanyi

If there’s one thing New York City isn’t lacking, it’s venues for music; music to be heard or to be played.

Which fits perfectly into the future plans of Ian Marsanyi, who will enter Columbia University in the fall. Located in the Morningside Heights district of lower Manhattan, the school has an excellent undergraduate program, and jazz clubs abound.

“Maybe I’ll get the chance to do a few gigs while I’m there,” he mused. “The Cotton Club is close by.”

Marsanyi has been a longtime member in good standing of band teacher Chris Harshman’s jazz band at the high school.

Last year, he won an award for outstanding drum solo at the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho.

“I’d have to say that was the best individual moment of my school days so far,” he said.

Music will always be a part of his life. Marsanyi and members of the jazz band offshoot Blue Matter have just cut their first CD, soon to be available at Joe’s Music in Langley.

For his senior project, he scored and performed the original music for the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts production of “Rosenstein & Guildencrantz Are Dead” in February.

He agreed with the others that the quality of education at South Whidbey is second to none, and cited personal attention and the small-town atmosphere as key factors.

“I would have missed a lot somewhere else,” he said. “Great teachers and classmates; I love ’em all.”

Math teacher Andy Davis noted that Marsanyi’s natural ability and great work ethic along with a very minimal amount of guidance has led to great success.

“He has a great sense of humor and is very humble,” Davis said.

Marsanyi is looking forward to life in the big city. And he already knows what to expect.

“I have to read the first 12 books of Homer’s “Iliad” before the first day of class,” he said. He plans to do that while on a backpack trip through Europe this summer.

“Provided I can find some cheap airline seats,” he added.

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