56th Annual Reno Jazz Festival winners announced

Three-day festival awards outstanding schools and performers from Nevada, California and Washington

The Seattle Academy Choir from Seattle, Washington, performed at the Reno Jazz Festival Showcase and Awards concert April 28 at Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. The group was directed by Mark Hoover. Photo by Rob Retting.


5/4/2018 | By: Yun Ku |

The 2018 Reno Jazz Festival concluded its three-day run April 28 by recognizing more than 50 performers and schools with honors for outstanding performances during the adjudicated competition.

More than 300 choirs, bands and combos from 170 middle schools, high schools, college and universities converged on the University of Nevada, Reno campus from April 26-28 to showcase the best of jazz music.

In addition to evening concerts by guest artists drummer Dafnis Prieto and multi-talented musician and composer Peter Apfelbaum, the Reno Jazz Festival offered daytime competitions, workshops and clinics by dozens of professional jazz artists and adjudicators for more than 9,000 young jazz musicians. The three-day festival culminated in a festival showcase concert and awards ceremony to honor the best and brightest young standouts.

2018 Reno Jazz Festival award winners:

Outstanding Awards:

  • High School Instrumental Ensemble: Folsom High School Band I (Folsom, California), directed by Curtis Gaesser 
  • High School Vocal Ensemble: Seattle Academy Choir (Seattle, Washington), directed by Mark Hoover 
  • Nevada High School Ensemble: Arbor View High School Band I (Las Vegas, Nevada), directed by Paul Beuning

Category Awards

  • Middle School Vocal: Billinghurst Middle School (Reno, Nevada), directed by Nichole Heglund 
  • Middle School Combo: Lindero Canyon Middle School Combo I (Agoura Hills, California), directed by Matt McKagan
  • Best Middle School Band: Hamilton Middle School Band (Seattle, Washington), directed by Paul Harshman
  • A High School Vocal: Seattle Academy (Seattle, Washington), directed by Mark Hoover
  • AA High School Vocal: Downey High School I (Downey, California), directed by Cory Olariu
  • A High School Combo: Durango High School (Durango, Colorado), directed by Alisa Stuard
  • AA High School Combo: Roosevelt High School (Seattle, Washington), directed by Michael Van Bebber
  • AAA High School Combo: Esperanza High School III (Anaheim, California), directed by Bradley Davis
  • AAAA High School Combo: Los Alamitos High School I (Los Alamitos, California), directed by Justin Padilla
  • C High School Band: Vacaville Christian High School (Vacaville, California), directed by Ralph Martin
  • High School Band: El Cerrito High School I (El Cerrito, California), directed by Keith Johnson
  • APII High School Band: Irvine High School II (Irvine, California), directed by Derek Venlet
  • API High School Band: Orange County School of the Arts III (Orange County, California), directed by Charles Wackerman
  • A High School Band: Garfield High School I (Seattle, Washington), directed by Clarence Acox
  • AA High School Band: Roosevelt High School (Seattle, Washington), directed by Michael Van Bebber
  • AAA High School Band: Alta Loma High School I (Alta Loma, California), directed by Brian McNair
  • AAAA High School Band: Folsom High School I (Folsom, California), directed by Curtis Gaesser
  • Community College Vocal: Cabrillo College (Aptos, California), directed by Mark Bidelman
  • Two-Year College Vocal: Mt. San Antonio College (Walnut, California), directed by William McIntosh
  • Four-Year College Vocal: CSU San Bernardino (San Bernardino, California), directed by Bradley Hampton
  • College Combo: CSU Fullerton Combo (Fullerton, California), directed by Francisco Torres
  • Community College Band: Fresno City College Band I (Fresno, California), directed by Mike Dana
  • Two-Year College Band: Pasadena City College Band (Pasadena, California), directed by Brian Carmody
  • Four-Year College Band: CSU Fullerton Band (Fullerton, California), directed by Bill Cunliffe

In addition, individual musicianship awards were given to the outstanding vocalist, saxophonist, trumpeter, trombonist and rhythm section players in the middle school, high school and college levels. For a complete listing of awards, visit www.unr.edu/rjf.

Considered one of the best of its kind in the world and lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as "showcasing music's future," the Reno Jazz Festival has been hosting jazz superstars and the finest jazz students, educators and professional musicians in the nation. Since 1962, the festival has grown considerably in size and stature and is becoming one of the largest and finest events of its kind in the world.

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For more information, contact the University of Nevada, Reno School of the Arts at 775-784-4278.

The Performing Arts Series and the Reno Jazz Festival are put on by the School of the Arts. The University's School of the Arts embraces its role as a vibrant center for arts and culture in northern Nevada. Its degree programs provide a strong foundation in a range of artistic disciplines, enabling students to contribute as artists, educators and scholars at the local level and beyond. The School, as part of the College of Liberal Arts, also supports and encourages research, innovation, and the artistic endeavors of its faculty. Finally, the school encourages broad campus and community participation in the arts through its numerous performances, lectures, shows, core courses and outreach activities that explore diverse cultures and encourage lifelong learning.

The University of Nevada, Reno Jazz Festival and Performing Arts Series receive financial support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency; the City of Reno; the Benna Family; the United States Marine Corps, Recruiting Station Sacramento; the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate Student Association; and The Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno. Hotel rooms are provided by Eldorado Resorts, and marketing support provided by CLM Design. The Steinway Piano Gallery of Reno supplies pianos for the festival.

Most Arts365 performances and exhibitions take place in the Church Fine Arts building on the University campus. For more information about the exhibits and performances, go to www.unr.edu/NVArts365, call 775-784-4278 (4ART), or email arts@unr.edu


For more news on the University of Nevada, Reno, follow @unevadareno on Twitter.

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