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    Meet The JAZZ.FM91 2013/14 Youth Big Band

    PHOTOS BY: JANET JARDINE

    Voice:


    Vocalist Andrea Bongers is in Grade 8 at St. Clements School and this is her first year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. She has been singing for three years and also plays guitar and saxophone. She studies voice with Elaine Overholt and with music teacher Maggie Thompson. She has performed with pianist Robi Botos at numerous fundraising events in the Toronto area. This year, she is looking forward to singing with an amazing group of musicians who are in her age group. Her favourite musicians are Barbara Streisand, Lisa Fischer, Amy Winehouse, and Celine Dion for their range and the way they make you feel when they sing. When not playing music, Andrea enjoys sports, art, and design. As for the future, Andrea hopes to become a successful singer / songwriter.

    Saxophones:

    Alto saxophonist Brandon Tse is in Grade 10 at Upper Canada College and this is his first year in the group. His main instrument is tenor saxophone, but he plays alto saxophone in the band and also plays soprano on the side. He’s been playing saxophone for about 3 years. His private teacher is Trevor Hogg and he studies with Kirk Macdonald and Lorne Lofsky at the Humber Community Music School. Other groups he plays with include the Sr. Jazz band at UCC, Lorne Lofsky's Humber Community group, and other independent jazz combos. Some of the musicians he admires are Cannonball Adderley, Dexter Gordon, Michael Brecker and John Coltrane. This year, he’s looking forward to improving on the alto and getting the chance to play with so many great young musicians. When he’s not playing music or doing school work, he likes to watch his favourite TV shows, play basketball, and play Xbox.

    Alto saxophonist Kal Shaw is in Grade 10 at Upper Canada College and this is his second year in the ensemble. He has been studying alto saxophone seriously for three years and he has been studying classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music for ten years. 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. Kal is looking forward to rehearsals at the Long & McQuade Performance Hall at JAZZ.FM91 with talented peers who have similar interests in music. Performing with various famous jazz artists is also a highlight. Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker and Kenny Garrett are some of the musicians that inspire him. When not playing or listening to music, Kal enjoys athletics, especially soccer. Regarding future plans, he sees himself in an engineering profession that uses his creative and analytical skills.

    Tenor saxophonist Anson Cai is in Grade 12 at Unionville High School and this is his first year with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He has been playing tenor saxophone for six years and also plays soprano and piano. He studies with Don Palmer at the Humber Community Music School. In addition to combos at Humber, Anson performs with the wind ensemble/chamber winds at UHS. Sonny Rollins and Lester Young were his first inspirations to really become serious about saxophone. Joe Henderson is his main inspiration at the moment. Anson also admires Lee Konitz because of how different he sounds and his use of space. Outside of jazz, he listens to the Books and Nick Drake. This year, Anson is looking forward to playing with all of these great musicians. When not playing music, Anson listens to music. He hopes to pursue a career as a professional musician.

    Tenor saxophonist Austin Bassarath is in Grade 11 at The York School and this is his first year with the ensemble. His main instruments are the alto and tenor saxophones equally and he’s been playing them for three years. He also plays trumpet and piano. He studies privately with Ryan Barker and at school with Mr. Fabio Biagiarelli. Austin performs with the York School Sr. Jazz Band and a small group consisting of members from the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. His main influences are Michael Brecker, Dexter Gordon, and Chris Potter.

    Baritone saxophonist Griffin Vona is in Grade 10 at the Etobicoke School of the Arts and this is first year with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. His main instrument is actually clarinet and he also plays tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone. He has studied saxophone with Daniel Petras and Taylor Cook. He performs with the Etobicoke Youth Band and in concert band and junior jazz ensemble at school. This year, Griffin is really interested in experiencing the big band feel and being with other people that are really deeply interested in music, as well as performing regularly. His favourite musicians include Paul Desmond, Joshua Redman, and Kenny Garrett. He really likes the way they play and the styles of improvisation they use. Although most of his time is dedicated to music, he also plays some sports outside of school. In the future, Griffin hopes to become a professional musician or a music teacher of some sort.

    Trumpets:


    Trumpeter Claire McDonald is in Grade 12 at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute and this is her first year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. She has been playing trumpet for seven years and recently graduated from the Toronto Children's Chorus Main Choir after five years and three international tours. She is currently part of the TCC Youth Choir and also performs with the Senior Concert Band, Senior Stage Band, and Orchestra at school. She is looking forward to playing with other excellent musicians and improving her skills as a musician and team player. Outside of jazz, Claire really likes Great Big Sea. When not playing music, she enjoys playing rugby.

    Trumpeter Kody Chambers is in Grade 10 at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts. This is his first year playing with the ensemble. He has been playing trumpet for two years and studies with John MacLeod. Kody performs with a quintet with some JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band members. This year, he is looking forward to improving his big band chops and soloing. His favourite artists are Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and Wynton Marsalis. When not playing music, Kody is often listening to jazz. Down the road, he hopes to be working as a professional musician after getting a good university education in jazz.

    Trumpeter Declan Scott is in Grade 9 at Markham District High School. This is his second year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He has been playing trumpet for five years and also plays flugelhorn and cornet. His teachers include Paul Otway, Dave Dunlop, and Barton Woomert. Declan also performs with the Hannaford Youth Band. This year he is really looking forward to performing at the Jazz Lives concert at Koerner Hall in 2014. His favourite artist is Trombone Shorty because he’s a beast. When not playing music, Declan likes to play volleyball.

    Trumpeter Marcus Thompson is in Grade 12 at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. This is first year with the group. He has played trumpet for seven years and also plays piano and guitar. He can also play loud and high on a trombone but not well. In addition to music classes at school with Michael Perkins, Marcus studies trumpet with Scott Harrison and Lina Allemano. This year, Marcus is looking forward to hearing the end product of the group. His favourite musician is Miles Davis because he is the master and the creator of so many genres. When not playing music, Marcus likes to listen to JAZZ.FM91.

    Trombones:


    Trombonist Hannah Simpson is in Grade 12 at the Etobicoke School of the Arts. This is her second year in the band and first year on tenor trombone. She has been playing trombone for six years and also plays piano. She has taken lessons with Alistair Kay and works with teacher Mr. Perkins and visiting artist Cathy Stone at school. She performs with the ESA pit orchestra, and ESA wind ensemble. After all the great experiences that she received last year, she is looking forward to performing with all the new great members of the band. Hannah’s favourite musician is Marshall Gilkes because he pushes all the limits with trombone, and he proves that everything that people think is impossible to do on trombone, is not. Her favourite group is Snarky Puppy because they pretty much created a whole new genre. Every song of theirs is different and exciting. When not playing music, Hannah likes to just hang out with her family. In the future, Hannah hopes to continue playing music and eventually become a police officer.

    Trombonist Connie Tran is in Grade 12, attending Cawthra Park Secondary School in the Regional Arts Program. This is her first year performing with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. She has been playing trombone for seven years and also plays piano, currently working on Grade 10 RCM. In school, her teacher is Mr. Andrew Jones and she studies privately with William Carn. Connie also performs with Cawthra's Senior Wind Ensemble and the Ritz, Cawthra's 400 voice choir, the largest high school choir in North America. This year, she is looking forward to playing with the talented members of this year’s group, performing with world-famous musicians, and getting a chance to learn in a different learning environment. Connie doesn't have a favourite musical artist because she likes listening to every genre of music.  When not playing music, Connie likes to travel, go on road trips, and swim. In the future, Connie sees herself as a music educator teaching high school music and also performing with community bands.

    Trombonist Jeshurun Navaratnam is in Grade 9 and he is enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at St. Robert Catholic High School. This is his second year with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He has been playing trombone for four years under the tutelage of Dr. James Chilton.  Jeshurun also plays in his school’s Senior Band under the leadership of Ms. Facchini and in the Senior Jazz Band under Mr. DiGirolamo. He feels privileged to play in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band and looks forward to building on his skills and improvising. He is excited to meet many talented new musicians and is especially thrilled that the band this year has its very own vocalist! Jeshurun’s favourite jazz musicians include Troy Andrews (Trombone Shorty), Wynton Marsalis, and John Coltrane. He also loves listening to the renowned pianist Keith Jarrett and the livelier Jamie Cullum. When not playing music, Jeshurun plays Rep soccer and also plays for the Senior Varsity soccer team at school. He plays golf recreationally. Jeshurun sees himself entering the world of business and finance after university, but knows that he will always play jazz and listen to a broad cross-section of music.

    Bass trombonist Walter Prentice is in Grade 12 at Markville Secondary School. This is his first year in theJAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He has been playing tenor trombone in for six years and started to play bass trombone this year. He also plays Euphonium on occasion and studies privately with John Jasavala. He plays tenor trombone in the Hannaford Youth Band, as well as his school's wind ensemble and big band. This year, Walter is looking forward to performing with guest artists. Besides music, he’s interested in world politics and studying history. In the future, Walter sees himself continuing his musical career as an orchestral trombonist in Europe or as a politician in the United States.

    Rhythm Section:


    Pianist Felix Wong is in Grade 12 and is currently attending Earl Haig Secondary School. He has been playing the piano for 13 years. This is his first year with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He is self-taught, learning jazz from records and books. His main influence is Bill Evans, who inspires him to create music that people can connect to emotionally, music that will move everyone from the musician to the layman, and all those in between. He is also heavily influenced by Esperanza Spalding and Eddie Gomez. He is a former member of the Toronto All-Star Big Band. He currently gigs around Toronto with his self-lead quartet, and was a part of the Conn-Selmer Stage Band and the TD Young Jazz Showcase.

    Guitarist  Zachary Stuckey is in Grade 12 at Cawthra Park Secondary School. This is his second year playing  guitar in the JAZZ.FM Youth Big Band. He has been playing jazz guitar for just under two years and guitar overall for about four years. He currently studies with Lorne Lofsky. Zachary participates in many extra-curricular activities relating to music, currently attending the Humber Community Music School under the direction of many great Canadian jazz musicians including Kirk MacDonald and Lorne Lofsky. Last year he was part of the National Youth Jazz Combo which performed at Music Fest Canada and participated in the Humber College Summer Jazz Workshop. Zackary’s many musical influences include Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Pat Metheny, and John Coltrane.

    Bassist Luka Srnic is in Grade 11 at Northern Secondary School. This is first year in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. Luka plays acoustic and electric bass and also performs with the Srnic Quintet. This year he is looking forward to being able to play with fantastic players at exclusive venues. His favourite musician is bassist Charles Mingus, due to his distinct style and use of minor chord progressions. Luka also produces electronic music.

    Drummer Petros Anagnostakos is in Grade 10 at Pickering College. This is his first year with the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. He has played drums for eight years and also plays piano and some guitar. He studies privately with Ernesto Cervini. He also performs in an ensemble at the Humber Community Music School and in a trio metal band. Petros looks forward to performing and developing new skills that he would have never thought of on his own. His favourite group is the Miles Davis Quintet with Philly Joe Jones because they grooved really well and had a solid rhythm section. When not playing music, Petros likes to listen to it.

    Drummer Teo Srnic is in Grade 11 at Don Mills Collegiate. This is his first year with the group. He has been playing drums for three years and also plays some piano. He has studied with Nick Fraser, Mat Macdonald, and Cathy Whiteside. He performs in school bands as well as an ensemble at the Humber Community Music School. This year, Teo is looking forward to playing great music with other young musicians in the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band. His favourite musicians include Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Philly Joe Jones, Jeff Watts, Elvin Jones, Oscar Peterson, Benny Golson, Miles Davis, and Sonny Rollins. When not playing music, Luka enjoys socializing with friends. In the future, he hopes to make a living being a jazz musician.



    CURRENT TOTAL

    $195,203!!!

    $54,797 LEFT TO GO!

     




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