Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary served up a full day of amazing award-winning jazz performances at the 18th annual Edmonds Jazz Connection on Saturday in downtown Edmonds.
Each year the Jazz Connection provides an opportunity for students in our area’s nationally recognized and award-winning high school and middle school jazz programs to perform for the community. Big bands filled the ECA stage with an eclectic array of instrumental jazz from Basie to Brazil, choirs delivered tight-harmony vocal jazz punctuated with some amazing virtuoso scat singing, and small combos evoked the likes of Miles Davis, Bill Evans and John Coltrane.
While the annual event is a treat for the ears of local music lovers, Jazz Connection offers more than just top-notch performances. The Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary Club uses the event to both raise and distribute funds to support exceptional music education, and to award scholarships to deserving students.
This year, the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary presented $12,000 in scholarships to eight exceptional graduating music students in the Edmonds School District, and the Rotary Club and the Foundation for Edmonds School District provided an $18,000 grant to the district. The grant will help the district continue its tradition of quality, creative music programs, the results of which were on display Saturday as students pushed the limits, turning in performances that rank with the best in the business.
This year’s scholarship winners each received $1,500. They are as follows:
Chance Gombert, Meadowdale High School trombonist, is recognized as having “an incredible passion for jazz music.” A National Honors Society member, Gombert has performed with numerous local music groups, and volunteered his time to help mentor younger student musicians. He aspires to become a professional musician studying at one of four universities on his short list.
Kate Khilfeh, Meadowdale High School saxophonist, balances an array of advanced studies with arts, music and volunteering. Also a National Honors Society member, she has won several STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) awards and math competitions. She plans to study to become a physicist at the University of Washington or one of the six other prestigious schools who have accepted her
Matthew Viet Vo, Meadowdale High School guitarist, is also a member of the National Honor Society. A dedicated community volunteer, he gives his time to Swedish Hospital, Sno-Ise Libraries, and as a tutor for both his peers and elementary students. Vo plans to pursue a career in pediatric medicine, starting with attending the University of Washington and studying bioengineering.
Kyle Bainbridge, Edmonds-Woodway High School baritone saxophonist, has won numerous honors and awards for his musical performances. In addition to jazz music, he has a passion for mathematics and engineering. He plans to pursue a degree in chemical engineering or applied mathematics at the University of Washington.
Natalie Rand, Meadowdale High School jazz vocalist, has wide-ranging passions that run from biology to philosophy, history, physics and music theory. A community volunteer, she freely gives of her time to help her peers work through tough times at the crisis clinic, and also volunteers at local libraries and charities. She is committed to helping others, and is and not afraid to take initiative and further involve herself in issues important to her and her environment. She plans pursue a degree in wildlife biology at the University of Washington, followed by a career as a wildlife biologist.
Shane Hansen, Meadowdale High School bassist and drummer, has won numerous awards for his jazz performances. He generously gives back to his community through volunteer music teaching, assisting athletic programs and working on a program to teach Marimba to integrated groups of teens and seniors. Hansen plans pursue a career in film production after completing his studies at Seattle University.
Hannah Song, Edmonds-Woodway High School vocalist, and violinist, has maintained a GPA of 3.84 while volunteers as a surgery liaison at Swedish/Edmonds Hospital. A first-degree blackbelt in taekwondo, Song plans to attend the University of Rochester to study medicine and after earning her medical degree to practice as a dermatologist.
Nebee Yohannes, Edmonds-Woodway pianist, is equally passionate about medicine and music. With a cumulative GPA of 3.914, Yohannes has served as a counselor of Summer Music School and Seattle Childrens’ Nurse Camp. Teachers praise his commitment to academics. He is a drum major and key soloist, and has been selected as pianist for the All Northwest Jazz Choir. He plans to start at the University of Washington with a dual major in biomedical science and music (jazz studies).
More information on the Jazz Connection and how you can help support the Rotary in this work is available here.
— By Larry Vogel