Mount Desert Island High School student Alex Burnett gets ready to perform Saturday at the state high school instrumental jazz festival at South Portland High School. PORTLAND PRESS HERALD PHOTO BY DEREK DAVIS

Jazz groups hit big time

SOUTH PORTLAND — Mount Desert Island High School musicians earned high marks at the Maine High School Instrumental Jazz Festival, held Friday and Saturday at South Portland High School.

Two MDI students, Dawson Burnett and Sarah Knox, received the Dale Huff Award for overall best musicianship in their respective divisions. Burnett earned musicianship recognition for performances in both the school’s big band and in one of the smaller combos.

Also honored for outstanding musicianship were Alain Zhang, Jane Pope, Jacob Lurvey, Adam Christianson and Camden Garland.

“We had a great time at South Portland High School for the festival,” MDI music teacher Michael Remy said. “They put on a great festival and so did we!”

The ensembles no longer compete with each other for rankings or medals at the event, Remy said. Instead, “medals are awarded to correlate with the judges’ scores.”

About 80 ensembles from 40 high schools participated in the festival. “The scoring standard is quite high,” Remy said, and not all groups receive medals.

All seven of the MDI groups were recognized. Big Group earned a gold medal and Nonet, the smaller of the school’s two big band ensembles, earned an honorable mention.

Combos Plop, Patti, Department of Justice and OMLRAT each earned bronze metals. Pulp received honorable mention.

Mount Desert Island High School senior Alec Fisichella performs Saturday at the state high school instrumental jazz festival at South Portland High School. PORTLAND PRESS HERALD PHOTO BY DEREK DAVIS


High school jazz at First Friday

Jazz combos from Mount Desert Island High School will be the featured program at the First Friday Coffeehouse on Friday, April 5, at the Northeast Harbor Library.

An open mic session hosted by Blue Gene begins the evening at 7 p.m. All performing artists are welcome to participate; sign ups are on a clip board. Performers usually have about 10 minutes on the mic or enough time for three songs.

The featured program begins at 8 p.m. Michael Remy, instrumental music teacher at MDI High School, is bringing five jazz combos to the show. Plop, Pulp, Patty, Department of Justice and OMLRATA “should be in top form and wonderful to hear,” event organizers said.

This will be the last of the First Friday Coffeehouses for the season. Refreshments will be for sale with proceeds going to support the Mount Desert Elementary School greenhouse.

The coffeehouse is free of charge, though donations are gratefully received.

Contact the library at 276-3333.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misidentified the photo of Alex Burnett. The Islander apologizes for the error.



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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