LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. – A student ensemble from Lagrangeville says it is not embarrassed to toot its own horn after racking up yet another win at a prestigious jazz competition.
Arlington High School’s Jazz Machine traveled to Massachusetts this past weekend to compete at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival.
It placed third in the Large Ensemble Division 1 at the fest Saturday at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
This is the 10th year in a row that the ensemble, directed by Richard Guillen, has made it into the top three.
Since 2007, Jazz Machine has taken 1st Place four times, 2nd Place three times, and 3rd Place three times.
The fest is the largest of its kind in the United States. More than 200 high school ensembles from 15 states took part in the competition.
Division 1, the fest’s toughest, is made up of ensembles from high schools with the largest enrollments. Four of the 16 bands in that division were previous festival winners.
Taking 1st Place in that division this year was Princeton High School (New Jersey). In 2nd Place was Mira Costa High School (California).
The Jazz Machine performed four musical selections.
Judges commented on not only the significant difficulty of performing four very different styles of jazz. but also on how well the group changed styles from one selection to the next and the mastery of each style the band displayed.
Jazz Machine opened with the up-tempo Ellington dance tune, “Bojangles,” then moved smoothly into Juan Tizol’s exotic Latin chart “Moon Over Cuba.” Third up was “Sepia Panorama,” a laid-back Ellington swing tune.
The ensemble got a standing ovation after ending its set with the Astor Piazzolla composition “Tres Minutos con La Realidad.”
The festival also awards outstanding individual musical contributions. Arlington bass player Antonio Albano was presented with the Judges Choice Award as the outstanding performer from the Jazz Machine, while lead trombonist Maria Kusior was awarded the Superior Overall Musicianship award for all 16 bands in the Large Ensemble Class 1 category.
The Jazz Machine was also given an award for 20 years of participation in the fest.
Arlington students who perform with Jazz Machine are: Antonio Albano, Emma Bailie, Caylea Barone, Anshul Bhargava, Brianna Bisceglia, Matthew Catron, John Czukkermann, Alex Gray, Ryan Halson, Tristan Hayes, Dan Isak, Naor Isak, Brandon Johnston, Maria Kusior, Ariana LoBrutto, Tyler Locke, Laurel Mangelsdorf, Michael Meaden, Nick Salomone, Michael Santiago, Ema Schwartz.
To follow the Arlington Jazz Machine on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/ArlingtonJazzMachine .