If you're familiar with to any degree, you've no doubt been told that the school has one of the best music programs in the country. Want proof? Look no further than the Samohi Jazz Band and Jazz Combo's big successes earlier this month.
On Mar. 5, the two music squads took home a heap of trophies after competing at the 43rd annual Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival in Boston. The groups performed in Division 1, the toughest bracket; it consists of schools with at least 1,500 enrolled students.
Under the direction of Tom Whaley, the visual and performing-arts coordinator for the , the Jazz Band came in first in the large ensemble category, while the Jazz Combo nabbed the gold in the small ensemble category.
In terms of individual performances, the Outstanding Musicianship Award went to lead trumpet player Eli Brown.
Meanwhile, guitarist Jake Noveck and pianist Steven Gordon were recognized as the top soloists at the festival, regardless of division. (By the by, is a past Santa Monica Patch Whiz Kid.) Noveck earned first place in the big-band soloist category, with Gordon coming in second; Gordon was the top jazz-combo soloist, and Noveck was the runner-up.
In light of their successes, Samohi received seven scholarships to Berklee's five-week summer jazz program—more than any other school.
Want to recommend a young person who has made extraordinary accomplishments in the Santa Monica community, for feature in "Whiz Kid"? Drop a line to Kurt.Orzeck@patch.com.
Past Whiz Kids: