FA's Award-Winning Vocal Jazz Ensemble Places 3rd at the 50th Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival
We are pleased to announce that Fryeburg Academy’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble won the third prize at the 50th Annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival on February 10. The vocal jazz ensemble has won the Berklee Jazz Festival three times and placed in the top three numerous times in the past 26 years.
FA’s instrumental jazz ensembles have won twice and earned several top awards as well. This year, the FA Big Band directed by Mike Sakash placed fifth in its division. All three of the Fryeburg Academy ensembles that performed at the Berklee Jazz Festival logged many hours of after school and evening rehearsal in preparation for this event, which included 209 of the top high school jazz ensembles from around the country.
The Vocal Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Mimi Rohlfing, performed “So What” by Miles Davis with lyrics by Eddie Jefferson, “Round Midnight” by Thelonius Monk, with lyrics by Bernie Hanighen, and “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” by Stevie Wonder and arranged by Darmon Meader. Members of the group are eligible for 25% scholarships at Berklee summer programs as a result of this achievement.
The Berklee music faculty recognize one performer in each ensemble for the Judge’s Choice Award. Senior Ciara Neidlinger received this award for her performance in the Fryeburg Academy’s New Standard Jazz Combo. Neidlinger who has performed with FA’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble all four years of her career at the Academy is no stranger to being recognized as an exceptional musician at the festival. Last year Neidlinger won one of three Outstanding Musicianship Awards in their vocal jazz division. Junior Georgia Stafford received Judge’s Choice Awards for her performances in the Big Band and Vocal Jazz Ensembles.
This year marked Fryeburg Academy’s first entrance into a new category of competition at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival. Ten finalists were selected from videos submitted by vocalists from across the United States. As one of the finalists, junior Georgia Stafford participated in a masterclass with “The Voice” vocal coach Debra Byrd, with the final competition taking place in the afternoon. The Fryeburg Academy community was thrilled to learn that Stafford won first prize. As a result, Stafford was invited to perform for a crowd of six-thousand people at the evening awards ceremony in Veteran’s Memorial Hall of the Hynes Convention Center. She also received a full scholarship to attend the five-week summer program at the Berklee College of Music.
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.
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:
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.
Each year, the Western Maine Conference (WMC) sponsors an awards banquet to honor students from each school in the conference. Every WMC school is asked to select two graduating seniors for their overall contributions to their school in the areas of academics, athletics, leadership, and extracurricular activities, as well as for their attitude and consideration of others.
This year senior twins, Casey and Reece Kneissler, were selected to represent Fryeburg Academy at the banquet held on February 27 at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland, ME.
Fryeburg Academy is an independent boarding and day school, serving grades 9-12 and postgraduate. We invite you to explore our site and learn how students from around the globe find their place in the world through our exceptional academic, art, and athletic programs.