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    Meet The JAZZ.FM91 2015/16 Youth Big Band

    Avery Raquel: Vocalist

    New to the JAZZ.FM Youth Big Band, vocalist Avery Raquel’s biggest passion is singing. She has acted in various film, television and animation projects for Spielberg, Dreamworks and Disney. Additionally, she has performed in a number of professional stage musicals across Canada. Singing since the age of 4, this grade nine student has garnered many awards with her captivating jazz performances. Currently with the Hernandez Voice Studio, Avery has had the pleasure of sharing a stage, recording with or learning from some of today’s top jazz artists like; Joel Haynes, Rob Fekete, Mike Pelletier, Sophia Perlman and many more.  Avery has performed with the Hamilton All-Star Junior Jazz Band in the past, and has been invited as a guest vocalist with High Rendition Jazz this season.  She’s performed as a solo artist in many jazz festivals across Ontario, as well as at the famous Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. This year brings Avery the opportunity to perform and promote her just released debut album ‘Life Lessons’, which she hopes will lead her into a music career. She intends to further her education in music at the university level and aspires to one day perform on Broadway. When not performing, Avery likes hanging out with friends, going to shows and skateboarding around town. Avery looks forward to performing on many different stages, learning new pieces and making new friends as a member of the Youth Big Band.

    Jackson Haynes: Drummer

    Drummer Jackson Haynes is in grade 8 at Aldershot High School. This is his first year in the Youth Big Band but he has played in other bands, such as the Halton Junior Jazz Band, and the Hamilton Junior All-Star Big Band. Jackson is looking forward to travelling and performing with his new band-mates.  He has been playing drums for 10 years and studying with his father, Joel Haynes. He draws inspiration from drummers such as Neil Peart, Dave Grohl, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. In addition to being a drummer he also plays saxophone in his school concert band. Jackson is also involved in many extracurricular sports including: soccer, volleyball, track and field, and he is the goalie for a house league hockey team.  In order to improve as a musician Jackson is going to focus on his up-tempo endurance, listen intently to a variety of jazz recordings, and build up his playing repertoire. He looks forward starting grade nine in the Fall of 2016 and is excited for the future.

    Anji Zhang: Saxophonist

    Tenor saxophonist Anji Zhang is in her second year with the Youth Big Band and is in the tenth grade at Earl Haig. This is her fourth year playing saxophone and she is currently studying with Marcus Ali, as well as Jane Fair at Humber College. Anji considers herself lucky to be playing with so many incredibly talented musicians and couldn’t be more excited to play with them for another year. The musicians in the Youth Big Band are some of Anji’s biggest inspirations because she has learned a great deal from them. She is exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to work with them every week. This year Anji is looking forward to the concerts and experiences she will share with the band, as well as being able to improve her skills as a musician. When she is not playing music she loves to read, write and learn unconventional things such as knitting and Morse code. Anji is still uncertain what she wants to do after high school; she plans to keep her options open while she patiently awaits her letter from Hogwarts.  

    Marton Pandy: Trumpeter

    Trumpeter Marton Pandy is a grade nine student in his first year with the Youth Big Band. He’s been playing the trumpet for three years and has taken private lessons with Norman Engel. Marton plays in the Earl Haig Wind Ensemble as well as plays trumpet and drums in a church band. He looks forward to having fun with the Youth Big Band and would like to learn how to be a better musician from his fellow band members, as well as improve his improvisational skills. His musical inspiration is Miles Davis because he loves his creativity. Marton is an elite long distance runner who excels at track, cross country and road races. He loves playing all sports and enjoys spending time with his three sisters, one of which is his twin. Marton’s dream is to participate in the Olympics and to maintain his passion for music.

    Griffin Vona: Saxophonist

    Griffin Vona, third year member of the Youth Big Band, is in grade 12 at Etobicoke School of the Arts. He plays multiple instruments, which include alto, tenor and soprano saxophone as well as clarinet and bass clarinet.  He’s been playing the saxophone for four years and the clarinet for six years.  As well as playing in the Youth Big Band, Griffin is a part of the Humber College Community Music program and he plays in his school’s Wind Ensemble and Pit Orchestra. Since he’s been a music student he has had the opportunity to learn from accomplished musicians Taylor Cook, Johnny Griffith, and is currently studying with Jeff King. In addition to learning from his teachers Griffin draws inspiration from Joel Frahm, Chris Potter, Phil Woods and Rosario Giuliani. This year Griffin will continue to hone his improvisational skills, improve his comfort level with different instruments and explore composition. He is looking forward to going back to Rochester, NY this summer to participate in the Rochester Jazz Festival. On top of being a musician Griffin runs his own business, which he is passionate about, and when he has free time he enjoys playing video games. He plans to study a combination of jazz and business at the post-secondary level.

    Ben McLean: Guitarist

    Guitarist Ben McLean is in Grade 12 and this is his second year in the group. He studies with Esteban Carvallo and Lucian Gray, and he is also learning acoustic bass. Ben also performs with a jazz trio and the indie band Paramount Kings. This year, he is looking forward most making music with a group of people who are there just because they love playing music. His goals are to learn how to play well with a lot of people, how to not play too much, and how to leave the right amount of space musically. His favourite artists include the Oscar Peterson trio, Ahmad Jamal trio, Wes Montgomery, Ed Bickert, and Hank Garland. When you’re not playing music, Ben likes to listen to music, read, and play basketball. His favourite foods include burritos, Thai food, and Bolognese. In twenty years, Ben hopes to be living in Berlin as a freelance musician.

    Felix Fox-Pappas: Pianist

    Pianist Felix Fox-Pappas is in his first year with the Youth Big Band. He has been playing the piano since the age of seven. During that time he has studied classical piano with Susan Kollhepp, as well as jazz with Alan Zemitas and Brian Rudolf. Felix has also had the pleasure of studying with Lorne Lofsky and Kirk MacDonald at the Humber Community music program. This year he is looking forward to playing alongside all the amazing musicians in the Youth Big Band. In order to improve Felix plans to work on making sure everything he plays contributes to the music as a whole. Some of his inspirations include Wynton Kelly, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Barron and Phineas Newborn Jr. When he is not playing music Felix enjoys listening to music as well as spending time with his friends. In the future he would like to study music at the university level.

    Kaelin Murphy: Trumpeter

    Kaelin Murphy is in grade 11 at West Hill Secondary School in Owen Sound. This is his first year in the Youth Big Band. He  plays trumpet and flugelhorn mostly, but in other groups he also plays the tenor saxophone. Kaelin has has been playing for almost 8 years, and has never had a private teacher, besides few lessons with Brownman Ali and Don Johnson. He plays trumpet with his local community concert band, as well as tenor saxophone in the Georgian Sound Big Band in Collingwood. Kaelin is mostly looking forward to playing more challenging music with the JAZZ.FM91 youth big band, as well as spending more time in Toronto. His goals this year include improving his lead playing, improvising, and overall musicianship. Kaelin’s biggest musical inspirations include John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove, Maynard Ferguson, Chris Potter, Clifford Brown, Maria Schneider, and many more. He doesn’t have any hobbies, besides getting better at music! His plans after high school are to study jazz performance and arranging, and to become a professional musician.

    Brandon Tse: Saxophonist

    Brandon Tse plays alto, tenor and soprano saxophones. He is in Grade 12 at Upper Canada College and this is his third year playing in the Youth Big Band. In addition, Brandon plays in his school jazz band and the Humber College Community Music program. He also enjoys playing gigs around Toronto with his friends. Brandon has been playing the saxophone for roughly five years. In that time he has been fortunate to study under talented Canadian musicians such as Tara Davidson, Dave French and most recently Trevor Hogg.  Since he is in his third year with the Youth Big Band Brandon is looking forward to meeting, playing with and mentoring the talented younger musicians who are just starting out. His biggest musical influences include Mike Murley, Cannonball Adderley and Dick Oatts. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his friends and playing recreational hockey and basketball. Brandon plans to pursue an education in Life Sciences at the University of Toronto next year and hopes to do a major or minor in Music as well.

    Alex Manoukas: Saxophonist

    Baritone saxophonist Alex Manoukas is in grade 12 at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts. He has been playing saxophone for five years and this is his first year playing with the Youth Big Band. Alex has studied with Dave French and Dave Neil. He is looking forward to the experience of playing shows with the band. This year he is planning on improving himself as a musician by becoming a better sight-reader. Alex’s biggest musical inspirations are Michael Brecker and Pepper Adams. When he is not making music he likes to play video games and hang out with his friends. Alex plans to study jazz performance at the university level in order to become a professional musician.  

    Petros Anagnostakos: Drummer

    Drummer Petros Anagnostakos is in Grade 12 and this is his third year with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He has been playing drums for ten years and also plays piano. He studies privately with Ernesto Cervini and also performs in an ensemble at the Humber Community Music School and Spaunt, his own metal trio. This year, Petros is very happy to work with his band mates for a third year with all new material. His goals are to try to become a better musician than last year as continuous improvement is very significant. His biggest inspiration is pianist Bill Evans and his trio with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, because of how rich their sound is and their use of phrasing. He also enjoys Animals as Leaders, Monuments, and MESHUGGAH. When not playing music, Petros likes to listen to it. His favourite food is pizza.

    Kal Shaw: Saxophonist

    Alto saxophonist Kal Shaw is in Grade 12 and this is his fourth year in the ensemble. He has been studying alto saxophone seriously for four years and also has studied classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Clifford Azavedo. Along with private studies with Jeff King, he studies with Dave Neill and Lorne Lofsky at the Humber Community Music School. Kal also performs with the Senior Enriched Combo at Humber as well as jazz ensembles at high school. This year, he is looking forward to the opportunity to grow as a musician, play weekly with talented young musicians, and perform live at jazz festivals and venues. His goals include improving his improvisational skills and sight-reading ability. Saxophonists Chris Potter, Dick Oatts, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, Kenny Garrett, and Dexter Gordon provide inspiration for their time-feel and sound quality. When not playing or listening to music, Kal enjoys athletics, especially soccer. One of his central inspirations is Canadian jazz icon Oscar Peterson, particularly for achieving immense success in the face of adversity. Regarding future plans, he sees himself in an engineering profession that uses his creative and analytical skills.

    Sam Boughn: Trombonist

    Trombonist Sam Boughn is in Grade 11 and this is his second year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. His teachers are Garry Martin and Cathy Stone, and he also performs with Dr. Death, 48th Highlanders of Canada Military Band, and No Clue. His favourite artists include JJ Johnson and Operation Ivy.

    When not playing music, Sam likes to listen to music and do homework. His favourite food is stew.

    Leo Silva: Trumpeter

    Trumpeter Leo Silva was born in Graciosa, Açores. He started studying at five years of age at the AMIG Academy of Music and later joined the local community Band, Sociedade, Filarmónica, União, Praiense. He was fortunate to partake in various competitions where he performed solo and obtained several awards, across the island of Açores.

    In 2011 Leo arrived in Canada and Joined a local Toronto band (Banda Lira Nossa Senhora De Fátima) for a few months and then joined the ABC Music Academy.
    Since 2012 Leo has been  playing with Banda Do Sagrado Coraçāo De Jesus. The ensemble’s conductor, Miguel Domingos, awarded Leo a scholarship to study at  the Royal Conservatory of Music, where he was taught by Stanley Rosenzweig.

    Leo’s goals for the year include improving his trumpet skills, which he feels will be a major part of his experience with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. His biggest musical inspiration is Arturo Sandoval, because of his ability to play with an amazing open sound throughout the range of the instrument. His plans after high school include working towards an application to Humber College and becoming a professional musician.

    Robert Conquer: Trombonist

    Tenor Trombonist Robert Conquer is in the tenth grade and this is his first year in the Youth Big Band. He plays in many school ensembles and is also second trombone in the Hannaford Youth Band. Robert has been playing trombone for four years and has been studying with David Archer, the principal trombonist of the National Ballet, for over a year. Some of his biggest musical inspirations are Joseph Alessi, David Archer and Troy Andrews. Robert is looking forward to performing with the Youth Big Band. By the end of the year he aims to have better tone, better jazz feel, a higher range and smoother tonguing. His other interests include swimming competitively for school, watching Netflix and playing video games. Robert would love to pursue an education in Music at the University level.

    Nick Forget: Trombonist

    First year Youth Big Band member Nick Forget is in grade nine at Etobicoke School of the Arts. This is his fifth year playing the trombone and he has studied it with talented musicians Cathy Stone and Matt Jefferson. He has also had the pleasure of studying jazz with Charles and Lucian Gray through the Discovery Through the Arts music program. Currently, he plays baritone in the Hannaford Youth Band and is a member of his school’s Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Stage Band. Next year he hopes to also rejoin the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra.  Nick looks forward to the many opportunities afforded to him by the Youth Big Band, such as meeting guest artists and performing alongside people who share his love for music.  He believes the Youth Big Band has a fantastic trombone section and his band-mates give him a lot of energy.  Nick is this year’s winner of the RCM Gold Medal for receiving the highest Grade 6 Trombone mark in Ontario. He aims to keep improving his playing and to become a more confident soloist. Nick looks up to Trombone Shorty as an inspiration for what he can achieve. In his free time he enjoys composing and arranging music, as well as playing the piano. 

    Madeline Hay: Trumpeter

    Trumpeter Madeline Hay is in Grade 10 and this is her second year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. This year, she is looking forward to be able to play with such amazing musicians. She has been playing trumpet for four years and her teacher is Norman Engel. She also performs with the Ontario Provincial Honour Band, Hannaford Community Band, Earl Haig Wind Ensemble. Madeline likes Alison Balsom because of her beautiful tone and Miles Davis because, “his solos are wicked.” When not playing music, she likes to sketch, paint, and compose songs. Her favourite foods are tacos and sushi. In twenty years, she sees herself performing on Broadway.

    Jaden Raso: Bassist

    Bassist Jaden Raso is in grade 10 at Westmount Secondary School in Hamilton. This is his first year being in the band. He plays the upright bass and electric bass. This is his second year playing the upright bass, and fourth year playing the electric bass. He currently studies the upright bass with Clark Johnston. Other than this band, Jaden is also a part of his school's jazz band and classical orchestra. What he looks forward to the most about being in the YBB is having the opportunity to play with the amazing musicians in the band! In the coming year, his goal as a musician is to listen to new music as much as possible, to continue to learn new things. Jaden's biggest musical inspirations are Bill Evans Trio, Snarky Puppy, and Miles Davis. Jaden's other hobbies include producing and mixing music and playing soccer. He would like to continue to study music after high school, but doesn't know what specifically.

    Evan Garner: Trumpeter

    Trumpeter Evan Garner is in grade 11 at St. Michael’s College School, and this is his first year playing with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He’s been playing trumpet for three years, but prior to that played piano for eleven years. He studies at school with Paul Pietrkiewicz, and his private teachers include Steve Evans and Brad Harrison. In the past he’s performed with the Denis Wick Canadian Wind Orchestra, the Hannaford Community Band, as well as his school’s Senior Concert Band and Senior Jazz Band. Evan is looking forward to hearing the band develop and hearing his peers solo. His main goals in the coming year are to become better at improvising and develop a better range. His favourite musicians include Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson. When he’s not playing music he likes to chop wood, and hang out with friends and play video games.

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