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On a high note: Clark College Jazz Festival wraps up

Three-day event closes out with ensemble performances, emotional farewell

By , Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith
4 Photos
Rich Inouye, left, director of bands, applauds the Clark College Jazz Ensemble during its performance at the 52nd Annual Clark College Jazz Festival.
Rich Inouye, left, director of bands, applauds the Clark College Jazz Ensemble during its performance at the 52nd Annual Clark College Jazz Festival. Photo Gallery

Brassy sounds bounced off the walls of a packed Gaiser Hall around noontime Saturday during the 52nd annual Clark College Jazz Festival.

The college’s own jazz ensemble capped the morning’s AAA school performances, closing with a jazz standard: “I’m Getting Sentimental over You” by Tommy Dorsey. Richard Inouye, director of both the ensemble and the festival, said that students continue to gain more ownership over the community event.

About 200 students volunteer for the festival, and this year a student designed the posters advertising the event. Commercial arts students offered Inuoye about 12 designs that he had a tough time picking from. He said students will continue developing marketing materials for the festival.

Inouye gave a tearful send-off to student and first tenor David Floratos. He’s heading to Western Oregon University to study jazz composition after spending three years with the Clark College Jazz Ensemble.

“My family has a philosophy that everyone should learn to play music,” Floratos said. “I really love jazz, because it’s such a diverse, complex type of music, and there’s a lot of room to express yourself.”

7 Photos
West Salem saxophonist Shayan Tahmaseb, 16, walks out of a practice room during the 52nd Annual Clark College Jazz Festival on Saturday February 1, 2014. (Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
Clark Jazz Photo Gallery

Though he was home schooled, he performed in middle and high school jazz bands.

Despite the turnover that comes with performing at a two-year college, Floratos said the ensemble turns into a kind of family each year. The ensemble practiced about eight hours each week leading up to their four performances at the festival. The saxophone player tried to practice every day for his solos.

His years with the ensemble helped him prepare to be a professional musician because, he said, he was treated like one from the start. Floratos, along with two other performers in the ensemble — lead trombone James Powers and bassist Jade Denny — were part of a quartet featured in the festival. They played jazz classics, along with their own original compositions.

Inouye said the quartet not only fleshed out the festival’s schedule, but also gave the college’s student musicians more exposure.

More than 3,000 people flocked to the three-day event showcasing 60 middle and high school jazz ensembles.

This year, Inouye hired a coordinator to help him out with the festival.

“Sometimes I’m overwhelmed in taking charge of such a big community event,” he said.

Inouye noted that as the popularity of the event increases, it becomes more evident that Clark College could benefit from having its own performing arts hall. People lined the walls of the hall during the afternoon performances Saturday, which is the most popular day of the festival.

Competition results

Garfield High School of Seattle won the Dale Beacock Memorial Sweepstakes Trophy on Saturday at the 52nd Annual Clark College Jazz Festival.

The award was presented at the conclusion of three days of big band jazz performed by ensembles from middle schools and high schools.

Other results follow.

Middle school jazz ensembles: 1st place: Eckstein Middle School, Seattle; 2nd place: Beaumont Middle School, Portland; 3rd place: Hamilton International Middle School, Seattle.

Special recognition went to Washington Middle School from Seattle, Washington for being asked to perform in the evening finals.

Outstanding Middle School Jazz Musician certificates were presented to: Hannah Wells and Joseph Gardner, Aspire Middle School, Lacey.; Milli McFall, Misae Nguyen, Hamilton International Middle School, Seattle; Brayton Sobolewski and Daniel Conway, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics Middle School; Eltan Davis and Sammie Wiegand, Beaumont Middle School, Portland; Marco Thompson, Washington Middle School, Seattle; Kai Despain, Sean Bowman, Julia Tanner, Austin Isgrig, and David Maltby, Eckstein Middle School, Seattle; Katriana Armstrong and Vanessa Gress, Chief Umtuch Middle School; Jerich Embleton, Creswell Middle School, Creswell, Ore.; Shermon Mattson, Pleasant Valley Middle School; Shane Walz, Morgan Kennedy, and Ainsle Cromer, Tukes Valley Middle School; Skyler Verity, Laurin Middle School.

A and AA division high school jazz ensembles:

A Division: 1st place: Ridgefield High School Jazz I; 2nd place: Woodland High School; 3rd place: Astoria High School, Astoria, Ore.

Outstanding A-division high school musician awards were presented to: John Mcgee, Philomath High School; Devin Van Laar, Trout Lake High School; Nick Bischoff, Ridgefield High School II; Nathan Mitchell and Gabrielle Allegri from Ridgefield High School I.

AA Division: 1st place: Hockinson High School; 2nd place: Fife High School, Tacoma.; 3rd place: Washougal High School.

Outstanding AA high school musician awards for the AA Division were presented to: T Anderson, Washougal High School; Erin Jones, Fife High School, Tacoma; Nathan Nyseth and Lillian Quintana from Hockinson High School; Jack Tietjen from R.A. Long High School, Longview; Daniel Kransuler and Jenny Kim from Sammamish High School, Bellevue.

AAA and AAAA division high school jazz ensembles:

AAA Division: 1st place: Meadowdale High School, Lynnwood; 2nd place: Mt. Spokane High School, Spokane; 3rd place: Mead High School Jazz I, Spokane.

Outstanding high school musician awards for the AAA Division were presented to: Cormac Liotta Sharma, Roosevelt High School II, Seattle; Ori Levari, Meadowdale High School; Andrew Sauage and Travis Widmer, Mt.Spokane High School; Lanie Pham, Battle Ground High School; Jorge Marcia, Vancouver School for the Arts and Academics.

AAAA Division: 1st place: Garfield High School, Seattle; 2nd place: Battle Ground High School; 3rd place: Union High School, Camas.

Outstanding high school musician awards for the AAAA Division were presented to: Kaleb Armstrong, Steve Mantecucco, and Nickolas Schell, Battle Ground High School; Devin Perez, West Salem High School, Salem, Ore.; Isak Washuburn-Gaines, Alice Mar-Abe, and Jack Swigget, Garfield High School, Seattle; Stephen Reid; Union High School Jazz I; Jimmy Root; Lake Stevens High School, Lake Stevens.

Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith