Top cats: Mountlake Terrace High School jazz band wins back-to-back highest honors at the Newport Jazz Festival

The Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Ensemble 1 poses Saturday with its award from the Newport Jazz Festival. (Photos courtesy of Brett Holt)

For the second year in a row, the Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Ensemble 1 (Jazz 1) took home top honors at the Newport Jazz Festival at Newport High School in Bellevue.

Jazz 1 won the 3A Division and the festival’s Sweepstakes Award on Saturday, recognized as the festival’s best jazz ensemble, according to a news release.

Jazz 1 competed on Saturday evening in the finals along with Bothell High School, Interlake High School, Glacier Peak High School and Shorewood High School. The Mountlake Terrace Symphonic “Jazz” also participated Saturday morning against a strong group of competitors in the 2A Division.

“I have to admit that it felt pretty good to receive this honor for our hard work and dedication that resulted in a high quality performance,” said Jazz Band Director Darin Faul. “Since our Sweepstakes win last year at this festival, it has been a tough year due to the cuts to music and the arts in the Edmonds School District and more cuts coming this spring.

“When that is your daily environment it starts to feel like no one cares and no one understands the importance of the arts. This festival experience is an important reminder that some people do recognize excellence when they hear it and want to honor it even if that isn’t the case in our own district.

“I’m really proud of all the students including those in our Symphonic ‘Jazz’ Band who are doing double duty this year as the second concert band and the second jazz band because our Jazz Ensemble 2 was cut last year. This was their first competitive jazz festival and they did a great job. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year with all of these students.”

Jazz ensembles competed on Saturday morning and afternoon, and adjudicators selected the top ensembles to compete in Saturday’s finals. Each 3A/4A jazz ensemble finalists performed two songs Saturday evening.

Jazz 1 performed A Little Minor Booze, Travelin’ Light and Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! in the afternoon. Their evening set included the song On The Sunny Side of the Street, along with Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!

Additional recognition for superior soloists was given to Jazz 1 musicians Mya Phin, Sean Stapleton, Nigel Denke, Luca Manzo, Bennett Harvey, Braden Ryder, Travis Herberg and Sophie Pigott; and Symphonic “Jazz” musician Nathan Anderberg.

In addition to 2023 and 2024, Jazz 1 won the Newport Jazz Festival Sweepstakes Award in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Saturday’s Jazz 1 performance can be viewed on the Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz YouTube Channel.

Information about the Mountlake Terrace High School music program and how to take action to save the music program is found on the Mountlake Terrace High School Music website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.