Travel can often be a deterrent when taking high school students to national competition. So when the National Music Festival hit Vancouver this year, Oak Bay High was ready.
“We pretty much qualify every year but don’t always get the chance to go to nationals,” said teacher Jeff Weaver.
With gold in hand from the West Coast Jazz Festival in Nanaimo, they headed for the Vancouver competition where a number of students earned individual kudos and the senior jazz band scored silver.
“The kids play in quite a high class. They’re considered a Grade 12 band even though they’re in Grade 10, 11 and 12. To achieve a silver at that level is fantastic,” Weaver said. “The kids played really well … just missed (gold) by a couple errors here and there, due to nerves maybe.”
Tasked with performing three contrasting pieces, they offered swing, a ballad and a Latin piece.
That last was Sammy Nestico’s Margarita from the album Night Flight and drew the most passion from students.
“Some of the cooler parts were our soloist awards,” Weaver said.
Thomas Daudlin, Shane Park, Antony Fenlon, Max Stover, Chris Warren, Miles Fuller, Luke Rohon O’Halloran, Alex Ireton where awarded for outstanding solos.
Angus Watt was named outstanding senior guitar player.
Felix Lambrecht was named most outstanding senior trumpet player and earned a scholarship to Berklee Summer Music program.