Talented musicians from Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor. Student musicians will gather at the high school on March 1 for the Maine District IV High School Instrumental Jazz Festival. PHOTO COURTESY OF MDI HIGH SCHOOL

Maine jazz greats to meet on MDI

BAR HARBOR — The District IV High School Instrumental Jazz Festival will take place at Mount Desert Island High School on Wednesday, March 1, from 9 a.m. till about 8:15 p.m. The festival is presented by the Mount Desert Island High School Music Boosters.

Students from Bucksport High School, Ellsworth High School, George Stevens Academy, Brewer High School, Calais High School and Shead High School, along with MDI, will compete in an event that celebrates all styles of jazz performance. The groups, which range from small combos to big bands, will get feedback from judges to guide them as they prepare for the annual Maine State High School Instrumental Jazz Festival to be held at Nokomis High School in Newport over two days later in March.

Under the direction of Michael Remy, the MDI music program has brought home several outstanding musicianship awards in the past few years, and the state championship in their division last year. In a different division at last year’s states, GSA and Ellsworth, whose band is directed by Joe Wainer, placed first and second. Several groups from GSA and MDI recently were selected for the Berklee High School Jazz Festival in Boston where they gave award-winning performances, including second place for one of GSA’s combos directed by Steve Orlofsky.

The program runs from 9 a.m. until 8:15 p.m. or so, and the groups change every 45 minutes. During the school day, there will be a single venue for combos, while in the afternoon and evening, there will be a choice of big bands in one space or additional combos in another. Continental breakfast, cold lunch of homemade sandwiches and hot supper including a crock pot buffet, as well as snacks and desserts will be available. Volunteers are welcome in a variety of positions. Sign up with the MDIHS music program.

For the past 40 years, since the days of MDI High School Music Director Dick Ordway, the Mount Desert Island Music Boosters have been encouraging musical performance and education on Mount Desert Island. Their efforts over the decades have created opportunities for and nurtured talent in many young people who have passed through the island’s music programs and were supported by this group’s promotion, enrichment and fundraising. Many have heard the high school’s pep band at sporting events and in village Memorial Day parades.

The snow date will be March 2.

There is another opportunity to see the MDI bands, including those from the island elementary schools, at the high school on Monday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m.

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