Two area high school jazz group took home several awards in a national jazz competition.
The Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra and Sun Prairie Jazz Ensemble were in New York City for the three-day event with workshops, jam sessions, rehearsals and performances. The event concluded with the jazz competition.
Beloit Memorial Jazz Orchestra members received the following awards:
- Ella Fitzgerald Award (top soloist): Kai Wong, Piano
- Outstanding Pep Section: Sarah Ramsden, Clarinet; Annette Cortez, Tenor Saxophone; Abigail Grenawalt, Trumpet; and Kylie White, Trombone
- Outstanding Baritone Sax: Sarah Ramsden
- Outstanding Bass: Tony Severson
- Outstanding Drums: Jonathan Garrett
- Outstanding Piano: Kai Wong
- Honorable Mention Piano: Miles Wisdom
- Honorable Mention Tenor Sax: Annette Cortez and Kai Wong
Sun Prairie Jazz Ensemble members received the following awards:
- Honorable Mention Piano: Elliot Lydon
- Honorable Mention Clarinet: Juanita Duarte
- Outstanding Alto Saxophone: Ethan Moehr
- Outstanding Lead Trumpet: Aaron Vetter
Chris Behrens, the Beloit orchestra's director, said he's thrilled with the performances.
“I am filled with pride, joy, and love for these wonderful and talented students who came to New York this week and played their hearts out,” Behrens said. “More importantly, they were part of an event that celebrates the coming together of people, in this case for jazz and the music of Duke Ellington. It’s an incredible experience to be a part of and one we will never take for granted or forget.”
Kai Wong, a senior at Beloit Memorial High School, said "words cannot describe" how he felt when he was called up for the top soloist award.
"Sharing this award and memory with so many incredible musicians is such an honor. Three days after the competition, it still feels completely unreal and has me thinking hard about what I want to do with my future,” he said.