Taking home the trophy — Jazz Fest held concert series to showcase student talent

The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival held a three-day concert series to celebrate young artists Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the Kibbie Dome.

The Young Artists’ Winners Concert included vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles from schools in Washington, Idaho and Canada. Each concert winner received a trophy and an automatic invite back to next year’s Jazz Fest.

Schools were invited to perform at the concert if they won their division at the earlier student performances.

The first night of the concert featured performances from Tyee Middle School, Russel Elementary School, Moscow Elementary School and Northwood Middle School.

Tyee Middle School from Bellevue, Washington, was named the junior sweepstakes winner for their piece, titled “Jive at Five,” at Thursday’s concert.

Tyee Band director Scott Backus said it had been six years since the school’s last appearance at the festival, so he was honored to be this year’s recipient.

“It has been such an awesome treat to just be at the festival and winning tonight has only sweetened it further,” Backus said. “I am incredibly proud of my students for their effort and hard work today — they definitely earned this trophy.”

The second night of the concert featured vocal performances from St. George High School, Lewiston High School, Amei High School, Clarkston High School, Skyline High School and GW Grahams Secondary School.

The Lewiston High School Gold Voices were named the vocal sweepstakes winner for their piece, titled “They Say It’s Wonderful,” at Friday’s concert.

Gold Voices performer Orion White said this was his eighth Jazz Fest, but his first time winning in the choir category.

“It’s always been my dream to be up on that stage, being recognized for something, and tonight I got that chance,” White said.

White said the Gold Voices had been invited to the sweepstakes concert at the Jazz Fest for the past three years, and this year was the group’s first win.

Gold Voices Choir Director Julie Burke said the Jazz Fest was fun for her group and she was proud of their performance.

The final night of the concert featured instrumental performances from Garfield High School, Wellington Secondary School, Prairie High School, Semiahmoo Secondary School, South Whidbey High School and Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy.

Garfield High School Jazz Band No. 1 from Seattle was named the instrumental sweepstakes winner for their piece, titled “I Had a Ball,” at Saturday’s concert.

Garfield performer Jonathon Sabbath said winning was an honor and an incredible feeling for him and the entire band.

“So much of music is subjective that it’s kind of nice to receive some validation like this,” Sabbath said.

He said many performers put in extra time to perfect the piece, and it paid off for the group.

Garfield performer Owen Boxwell said he attended the Jazz Fest for the past five years, but this time will be the most memorable for him.

“A win like this really brings people together,” Boxwell said.

Olivia Heersink can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or Twitter @heersinkolivia

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