The jazz band from Wescott Junior High School in Westbrook claimed second place in its division at the Maine Music Educators Association State Middle School Jazz Festival at Westbrook High School on Saturday.

The band’s three-song set included “Topsy,” arranged by Rick Stitzel; “Estancia,” by Doug Beach; and “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” arranged by Mike Sweeney. Soloists included Hannah Gowen on flute; Andrew Correa and Demonte Luter on alto sax; Adam King, Andrew Lamson and Elliott Gagnon on trumpet; and Sarah Foster on trombone. Bass guitarist Emily Rich was one of five Division I soloists to receive an Outstanding Musicianship Award for her extended bass solo.

Second-year jazz band director Krystle Plasse said she thought the ensemble’s performance was “just awesome” and applauded the efforts of the 18 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the band.

“What Krystle has done with these kids over the past two years has been tremendous,” band parent and jazz festival volunteer Sharon Little said. She said the band, which includes six eighth-graders, who will move to the high school in the fall, rehearses once a week and performed for students at one of the elementary schools in Westbrook last Wednesday to help prepare for Saturday’s competition.

The Wescott Junior High School Jazz Band was one of 44 middle-school bands from around the state to take to one of two stages at Westbrook High School on Saturday.

Competing in Division I, the jazz band from Wescott Junior High School faced jazz bands from Gorham and seven other towns from Berwick to Presque Isle.

The top Division I winner was Falmouth Middle School. Brunswick Middle School captured third place.

The Gorham Middle School Jazz Band, which placed fourth in Division I, received the Maine Music Educators Association “Gold Award” for earning an average score of 88 or higher out of a possible 100. This is the first year the state association has issued this award.

Under the direction of Kim Mathieu, the jazz band from Gorham Middle School performed “Green Onions,” “Kidney Stew Blues” and “One Note Samba.” The three-song set featured soloists Matt Southard on alto sax, Ellyn Touchette on tenor sax, Justin Reyes and Shea Ahern on trumpet and Arthur Lockman on trombone.

Local bands, which arrived at the state finals after receiving high marks at their respective district festivals, also included Noble Middle School in Berwick, Greely Middle School in Cumberland and King Middle School in Portland in Division I; Memorial Middle School and Mahoney Middle School in South Portland in Division II; and two ensembles from Loranger Middle School in Old Orchard Beach in Division III.

Wescott band among state’s bestWescott band among state’s best


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