Fryeburg Academy Students Recognized at 27th Annual Berklee Jazz Festival

This year marks the 27th year of the Berklee Jazz Festival held in Boston, MA and the nearly three decades that Fryeburg Academy’s award-winning music program has participated in the prestigious event. 2019 also marks the end of an era for the festival: after 51 years of operation by Berklee College of Music, the college announced the festival’s suspension this year to reallocate funds towards financial aid.

As an alumna of Berklee College of Music, I’m sad to see that the decision to suspend the festival has been made,” says FA’s Music Director Mimi Rohlfing.  “I’ve loved sharing this amazing place with my students, and I know our students have looked forward to the constructive critique, camaraderie, and the bounty of astounding music they can consume in that one special day. However, I love change.  Both Mr. Sakash and I see it as an opportunity to expose our students to new musical and cultural experiences in the future.”

At this year’s Berklee Jazz Festival, several Fryeburg Academy students received recognition for outstanding performances: Georgia Stafford ‘19 earned the Judges’ Choice Award for her Vocal Jazz ensemble performance, and the ensemble received an Outstanding Musicianship Award for the school’s division.  Matt Gunther ‘20 and Simon St. Pierre ‘21 also received Judges’ Choice Awards for their instrumental performances in the New Standard Combo and Fryeburg Academy Big Band.

“The Fryeburg Academy Big Band played extremely well and rated sixth among some of the best high school big bands in the country,” continues Mike Sakash, Arts Department Chair at FA. “Our jazz ensembles and combos are off to a great start this year and we are anxious to refine our repertoire in preparation for Maine’s district and state jazz festivals.”

FA students who were named to the District II Honors Choral Festival that performed on February 1st in Cumberland, Maine were Ayanna Ward ‘22, Alanceiah Waiters ‘20 (who featured a solo for the 2nd year in a row), McKenna McGrath ‘19, Sharlah-Mae Day ‘21, Grace Marshall ‘21, David Marshall ‘21.

FA students who were named to the District II Honors Jazz Band and Choir to be hosted by Yarmouth High School on April 1st are Georgia Stafford ‘19 (top alto in the district for the 2nd year in a row), Alanceiah Waiters ‘19, Taylor Gunther ‘22, Arvin Ma ‘20, Brendan Simkins ‘21, and Simon St. Pierre ‘21 (first chair alto saxophone for the district).

“It’s a big accomplishment to be named to District II,” concludes Rohlfing. “The district is very large and includes schools like Gould Academy and the towns of Lewiston, Auburn, as well as Falmouth and Greely. Students from a large portion of the state compete to earn places in these ensembles.”

List of 5 news stories.

  • FA Wins Gold at Maine Music Educators Association Vocal Jazz & Show Choir Festival

    On Saturday, March 30, 2019, members of the Fryeburg Academy Vocal Jazz Ensemble performed at the Maine Music Educators Association Vocal Jazz and Show Choir Festival, where they earned the coveted Gold rating, averaging a score of 97 out of 100 points possible.  And, since they secured one of the top two spots in their division, FA’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble was invited to compete for first place in the “Night Finals.”
  • Fryeburg Academy Students Win 2nd Place at the 73rd Maine State Science Fair

    On Saturday, March 23, senior Antonina "Tonia"  Zakorchemna and junior Artem Laptiev — both international resident students from Ukraine — participated in the 73rd Maine State Science Fair at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. The annual fair is organized by the Jackson Laboratory and the Reach Program—a program of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance.
  • FA Attends the National High School Model United Nations in NYC

    This year, 22 students traveled to New York City to attend the four-day National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) Conference on March 1-4.  Now in its 45th year, the NHSMUN is the largest and most prestigious conference, hosting over 5000 participants from more than 75 countries and 300 schools. The New York-based conference-- surrounded by offices of Permanent Missions to the United Nations as well as the United Nations Headquarters itself--provides the perfect backdrop for a robust international affairs experience and a broadening of global issues awareness. Students are provided with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the theory and practice of international relations firsthand and have the opportunity to attend the opening or closing ceremonies in the UN General Assembly chamber, where actual diplomats convene every year.
  • FA Wins Silver and Bronze at the Maine State Instrumental Jazz Festival

    On March 15 and 16, FA's Jazz bands traveled to South Portland High School to attend the Maine State Instrumental Jazz Festival. The New Standard Combo and FA Big Band both performed very well, earning silver while the Yukon King Combo and Fryeburg Academy Jazz Orchestra won bronze. It is noteworthy that FA's New Standard Combo earned 74 out of 75 points for their performances--one point shy of claiming the gold standard and was one of the highest scoring combo performances of the event.

    At the festival, Georgia Stafford '19 won the Dale Huff Outstanding Musicianship Award--awarded to the top-rated musician in the combo division. Other outstanding performances recognized at the jazz festival were as follows:

  • FA's Math Team Captures the Regional Title

    The Fryeburg Academy Math Team finished the season by defending their Pi-Cone League Championship title at Leavitt High School on March 6th. The Pi-Cone League consists of 14 teams from 11 regional high schools throughout Central Maine. Five meets were held this year from October through March.  50 Fryeburg Academy students competed on the math team, the highest number of participants on record. Senior team captains Antonina Zackorchemna '19 and Celine Lyu '19 did an outstanding job of leading the team this year.  Weekly practices were held at the LaCasse Dining Hall.

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