• Melodious Thunk at National Jazz Festival

    Melodious thunk and Mr. O after their performance at the National Jazz Festival.


    Melodious Thunk No. 2 at National Jazz Festival

    Melodious Thunk earned second place in the inaugural National Jazz Festival in Philadelphia on Feb. 15.

         “Phenomenal,” said Director Steve Orlofsky of the group’s score of 192 out of a possible 200 points. The group finished just two points behind an ensemble from Princeton (N.J.) High School in Small Ensemble Division 2. The scores of the remaining groups in the division ranged from 130-186 points.

         “Excellent group playing, wonderful dynamics,” said judge Matt Davis of Melodious Thunk’s performance of “Strasbourg St. Denis,” composed by Roy Hargrove. They also played “Feel,” by Jacob Collier, and “Two Timers,” by Victor Wooten.

         Melodious Thunk is composed of seniors Erika Hipsky on alto saxophone and flute, Duncan Howell on trombone, Ian Howell on baritone saxophone, Joey Mitchell on guitar and Quinn Stabler on bass; junior Zeke Sacaridiz on drums and vocals; and sophomore Gabe Hall on trumpet.

         Duncan Howell and Sacaridiz were named Outstanding Musicians in their division, two of three musicians to be so honored.

         Three of Melodious Thunk’s musicians, Hipsky, Ian Howell and Stabler, were part of a GSA combo that took third place at last year’s Berklee High School Jazz Festival. Berklee’s decision to no longer host its high school festival is one reason why the National Jazz Festival was founded.

         Melodious Thunk and other groups from GSA will compete with ensembles from Brewer, Bucksport, Ellsworth, MDI, and Shead in the Maine Music Educators Association District 6 Instrumental Jazz Festival, to be hosted at George Stevens Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 26. For more on this opportunity to hear great jazz performed live, visit georgestevensacademy.org/jazzfest.