From left, Quinn, Zeke, and Joseph.
Three among Best in State
Joseph Mitchell '20 of Orland, Quinn Stabler '20 of Blue Hill and Zeke Sacaridiz '21 of Blue Hill have been selected to participate in the Maine Music Educators Association Jazz All-State Festival at Bangor High School Jan. 2-4.
“I’ve been playing guitar since freshman year,” said Joseph, who will play jazz guitar for the SATB Jazz Choir, “and now own way too many.” “I play lots of blues and rock at home, but love playing Latin and jazz with our combo,” who auditioned for the festival together.
To prepare for that audition, held Oct. 11 at the University of Maine at Augusta, the group worked with combo director Steve Orlofsky. “I don’t think I would have the passion I have for music today without him,” Joseph said. “He played our audition song with us many times.”
Quinn, who will play bass in the JAS Combo, also is grateful to Mr. O for his help not just with the audition but over the last three years in jazz at GSA. “He’s so passionate about the music, it’s contagious,” he said. “He’s inspired me to be so much better.”
Quinn started playing guitar in third grade, but picked up bass guitar as a fifth-grader, which is when he also started playing jazz, his favorite genre. The bass, he said, is “such an important part of the band, but it isn’t in the spotlight most of the time,” and that suits him just fine.
Zeke started playing African hand drums when he was seven years old, but at eleven, he took a turn on a friend’s drum kit. He was hooked. Drumming is “so tactile,” he said, “the sticks feel like an extension of my hands, and I love the engagement of my whole body.”
Zeke wouldn’t have discovered his love for jazz drumming if it hadn’t been for Mr. O, and now it’s his favorite genre. He will play jazz drums in the JAS SSA Jazz Choir.
“Auditioning and being accepted is a huge accomplishment,” said Mr. O, who noted that the scores and rankings show that in all of Maine, Joseph is the No. 5 high school guitarist, Zeke is the No. 4 drummer, and Quinn is the No. 1 bassist.
“I am extremely proud and happy for [them],” he said.
With their respective ensembles, the students will rehearse with guest conductors to prepare several musical selections. They will play these sets during a grand finale concert open to the public on Saturday, Jan. 4, in Peakes Auditorium at Bangor High School.
Congratulations to all who auditioned and especially to Joseph, Quinn, and Zeke! GSA's reputation for music excellence is in good hands.