The senior jazz ensemble from Campbellford District High School hit all the right notes to capture a gold award at the recent MusicFest Canada.
The ensemble performed “Whiplash,” the title track from the 2014 Academy Award-winning movie of the same name.
MusicFest Canada, held May 14-19 at the University of Toronto, brings together more than 10,000 of Canada’s young musicians.
“It was a real challenge to put the piece together and get used to feeling different subdivisions of seven beats to a bar,” stated teacher Dave Noble. “But it is a huge sense of accomplishment when it happens.
According to Noble, “Whiplash” is written in 7/4 time, rather than the traditional four beats to a measure. Noble says that makes counting and group blending challenging.
“Adjudicators always talk about how this group is able to sound really tight and together. Everyone in the band did a great job,” Noble said.
According to adjudicator Shirantha Beddage, a Juno-nominated professor, the seniors had a “really powerful performance.”
“Obviously, with a tune at this level, you’ve got to put a lot of time and energy into it, and the fact that you did — I really appreciated that, and so did the crowd,” stated Beddage.
Campbellford’s intermediate jazz ensemble also earned a silver award.
“The intermediate group also did a fantastic job with their tunes,” Noble said. “National silver is a huge accomplishment for our young musicians. They should be very proud.”
Noble noted among individuals recognized included Grade 11 singer Olivia Rapos, who was featured in an arrangement of the piece “Save Your Love for Me” by Brian Barlow.
“She received praise from the adjudicators for her mature style,” Noble said.
Others singled out for outstanding playing included Grade 10 student Patrick Muldoon for his lead trumpet work and solos; Grade 12 saxophonist Becca Westall; Grade 9 guitar player Ivan Stille, whose solos and leadership earned him a musicianship/leadership award, and Zoe Saito, a Grade 9 lead trumpet player in the intermediate group, for outstanding performance and leadership.
The school’s musicians will be playing shows for 1,200 area elementary students and hosting a music night and awards show all on June 1.