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Jazz ensemble shines at prestigious music festival

Several Fayetteville-Manlius High School student-musicians were recently recognized at the country’s largest and most prestigious high school jazz competition.

On Jan. 26, members of F-M High School’s jazz ensemble participated in the 51st Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The event, which is organized by Berklee College of Music, drew thousands of student-musicians from 16 states and Puerto Rico.

“The Berklee High School Jazz Festival is an extraordinary event that showcases some of the best high school music programs from across the United States,” said Darla Hanley, festival executive producer.

The festival’s competition portion features large, combo (smaller), and vocal jazz ensemble performances, which are each evaluated by a panel comprised of musicians and Berklee staff members. Within each of these categories, ensembles compete within their respective classes. Class assignments are determined by participants’ school size.

For its performance in the large ensemble category (Class L2), F-M’s jazz ensemble, which is directed by F-M music educator John Patrick Jeanneret, achieved fourth place. One of the festival judges described F-M’s performance pieces as “modern, diverse and challenging” and commended students for performing “complex and advanced-level” music with “a lot of maturity.”

For her performance in the competition, F-M High School sophomore Sadie Fridley received a judge’s choice award and was named best instrumental soloist in the jazz ensemble. She also achieved a third-place scholarship for her separate performance in the jazz singers showcase event.

In addition to student performances, which are evaluated by a panel of musicians and Berklee staff members, the full-day event includes clinics, jam sessions, concerts, Berklee tours, and more. This year’s guest clinicians included Jeff Coffin, multi-Grammy Award–winning saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band; trumpeter Keyon Harrold; and the Almas Antiguas Quintet, according to Berklee’s website.

The following F-M High School students performed at the event:

Marion Avila, grade 12
Nicholas Bissell, grade 12
Kevin Castro, grade 12
Jason Cavanagh, grade 11
Maia Chakin, grade 10
Aaron Costanza, grade 12
Isaac Frechette, grade 10
Sadie Fridley, grade 10
Lucas Gascon, grade 9
Grace Kaercher, grade 10
George Langenberg, grade 11
Gerard McCrohan, grade 10
Jacob Merrow, grade 10
Benjammin Parrish, grade 10
Allison Ritter, grade 12
Eli Seamans, grade 11
Ben Sharples, grade 9
Nicole Smith, grade 9
Eli Taeckens, grade 11
Rebecca White, grade 11
Christopher Ziobro, grade 12
Rebecca Ziobro, grade 10

This is an image of Sadie Fridley performing

Fayetteville-Manlius High School sophomore Sadie Fridley performs during the 51st Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival in January.

This is an image of the high school jazz ensemble performing

Under the direction of John Patrick Jeanneret, members of the Fayetteville-Manlius High School jazz ensemble rehearse for the 51st Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival.