Alec Fisichella performs on trumpet and Adam Christianson on trombone at Island Jazz Night, held at Mount Desert Island High School Feb. 27. ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

High school jazz sets toes tapping

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School instrumental jazz ensembles will head to the University of New Hampshire this weekend for the Clark Terry Jazz Festival, where they will attend concerts and master classes, as well as perform their competition pieces.

The trip comes on the heels of Island Jazz Night performances last week and ahead of the State Jazz Festival at Nokomis High School March 16-17. They’ll be back home for the March 21 Black Rose theater fundraiser, an event that will include music from the jazz combos and a performance of the one-act play “Jack, or the Submission” by Eugene Ionesco.

El Houghton of the Mount Desert Island High School jazz band Mongoose on tenor saxophone last week at Island Jazz Night. ISLANDER PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

The jazz program’s big bands this year are called “Squid” and “Mongoose.”

Mongoose’s competition pieces are “Poultry in Motion” by Kris Berg, featuring El Houghton on tenor saxophone and Brenna Jones on trombone, “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” featuring Eliza Ramos on alto saxophone and Houghton on tenor saxophone, and “Check Your Swing,” featuring Houghton on tenor saxophone and Winslow Jeffery on trumpet.

Squid plays “There is No Greater Love,” featuring Adam Christianson on trombone. The original Ella Fitzgerald version of “I Can’t Get Started” features Bonnie Snyder on vocals and Alec Fisichella on trumpet. “Pete Wheeler” by Jacob Mann features Matt Cox on alto saxophone and rounds out the set.

The school also is fielding three smaller jazz combos: “OxRat,” “Meaty Okra” and “Ryedeyr.”

OxRat’s set includes an original piece, “Capitulation” by Alec Fisichella. The song features Fisichella on trumpet, Cox on tenor saxophone and Emerson Jeffery on piano. They play “2013,” featuring Cox on tenor sax, Fisichella on trumpet, Jeffery on piano and Chase McGee on bass. Finally, there’s “Teen Town,” featuring McGee on bass, Cox, Fisichella and Dawson Burnett on drums.

“La Cabra Pequeña” is the first tune for Meaty Okra. It features Peter Benson on tenor saxophone, Adam Christianson and Irene Choi on trombone, Alex Burnett on guitar and Tristan Higgins on drums. “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” features all the same soloists, and “There Will Never Be Another You” features all the horns.

Ryedeyr is playing “Equinox,” featuring Jane Pope on alto saxophone, Leao Nelson on trumpet and Winslow Jeffery on guitar; “Come Sunday,” featuring Pope and Nelson; and “Oleo” featuring Pope, Nelson, Winslow Jeffery on trumpet and Massimo Daul on drums.


Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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