Northwinds jazz band plays its way to the top at festival

The Northwinds Homeschool Jazz Band 1, led by director Dan Tutton, placed first in the 1-A Division at the Clark College Jazz Festival, held in Vancouver from Jan. 26-28.

Northwinds trombonist Jared Fodge and trumpet player Adam Kennedy were awarded Outstanding Musician Awards for their respective instrumental solos.

The Northwinds Jazz Band is comprised of local homeschooled students from the Sequim and Port Angeles areas, and rehearses twice weekly in Port Angeles.

The band competed against both public- and private-schooled students at the festival, in the high school 1-A Division — a field comprised of schools of up to 525 students in grades 10-12.

The 55th Annual Clark College Jazz Festival has hosted the largest jazz festival in southwest Washington for more than 50 years. Always the last weekend in January, the festival attracts more than 60 middle and high school instrumental jazz ensembles for the three-day competition. During the day, groups perform to and receive instruction from an esteemed panel of adjudicators made up of renowned jazz musicians and educators. Student bands compete for the opportunity to return for the evening finals competition where they are ranked or awarded first, second and third place.

Under Tutton’s direction, Northwinds Jazz and Concert Bands also participated in the Anaheim Heritage Festival in 2014, where they received two Gold Awards, one Silver Award, two Maestro Awards and the “Spirit of Anaheim” award, given to the high school group which best represented their community in a positive way.

The jazz bands and concert bands are preparing to return to southern California to perform and compete in both a Heritage Festival and Festival of Gold invitation-only event.

A local free community concert event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at Independent Bible Church, 116 E. Ahlvers Road, Port Angeles.

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