By Sebastian Lopez
The Santa Monica High School Jazz program put on award-winning performances at the Westlake High School Jazz Festival Saturday, May 7.
The Jazz Festival created an opportunity where 68 jazz bands and combos performed to showcase their talent. The Samohi Jazz program took home two awards as a whole, as well as fourteen individual outstanding soloist awards.
“The fact that Samohi’s program performed so well is a testament to the fantastic music education our students receive, starting with elementary music years all the way up through the high school level,” said Tom Whaley, visual and performing arts coordinator and jazz band 1 and combo director.
The jazz festival offered various levels of competition from “novice” to “heavy” and held a concert featuring the Cal State Northridge Jazz ensemble.
“Participating and excelling in an event like the Westlake High School Jazz Festival provides such an educational and motivational experience for our students and illustrates our deep level of commitment to the District’s arts and music programs,” said Santa Monica Malibu United School District (SMMUSD) Superintendent Sandra Lyon said.
Jazz Band 2, under the direction of Sean Pawling, placed first in the novice big band division and was the only band in the division that earned the highest rating from each adjudicator.
“We are so proud of each student, the directors and all those who have contributed to success of our thriving music program,” Lyon said.
Jazz Band 1, under direction of Tom Whaley, placed second in the advanced big band division and was only .17 of a point shy from placing above first over Moorpark High School.
The Samohi jazz program recently received a $5,000 donation and set up a Go Fund Me page to try and raise and additional $5,000 to help cover operational expenses. To contribute head to: gofundme.com/mtzr5puw.
The Samohi Jazz bands will perform their final concert at Catalina bar and Grill in Hollywood on Saturday May 21 from 12 to 2:30pm.