UNT students, ensembles win DownBeat jazz awards
University of North Texas College of Music jazz studies students and ensembles have been recognized with 10 DownBeat Student Music Awards this year. The prestigious awards were announced in the June issue of the national jazz magazine DownBeat, available now.
Among the winners are the Two O’clock Lab Band, which won Large Jazz Ensemble in the graduate college division, based on its work on the album Kind of Two. The Two O’clock Lab Band was directed by Jay Saunders, who was recently announced as the interim director of the One O’clock Lab Band, the premier ensemble of UNT’s jazz studies program.
Two student works recorded on the One O’clock Lab Band’s album Lab 2013 under the direction of Steve Wiest also earned awards: doctoral student Keith Karns’ “The Square” won Original Composition for Large Ensemble in the graduate college division, and master’s student Drew Zaremba’s arrangement of “As Time Goes By” received the Jazz Arrangement Outstanding Performance Award in the graduate college division.
The DownBeat Student Music Awards are among the most significant awards that jazz students can receive.
“These awards recognize the many hours of work that our students and their mentors devote to their artistry,” John Murphy, chairman of UNT’s Division of Jazz Studies, said in a news release. “The awards show the comprehensive excellence of our program by recognizing instrumental and vocal soloists and groups, composers and arrangers, and jazz, Latin and blues-pop-rock styles.”
UNT had six winners:
*Jazz Soloist, graduate college: Aaron Hedenstrom; faculty mentor Brad Leali;
*Blues-Pop-Rock Group, in the undergraduate college division: The Alex Hahn Crossing; faculty mentor Brad Leali;
*Latin Group, graduate college: Juan Chaves Big Band; faculty mentor Richard DeRosa;
*Original Composition for Large Ensemble, graduate college: Keith Karns, “The Square,” performed by the One O’clock Lab Band on Lab 2013; faculty mentor Mike Steinel;
*Large Jazz Ensemble, graduate college: Two O’clock Lab Band, directed by Jay Saunders; and
*Vocal Jazz Soloist, graduate college: Michelle Alonso; faculty mentor Jennifer Barnes.
UNT performers received four Outstanding Performance awards:
*Blues-Pop-Rock Group, graduate college: Aaron Hedenstrom Organ Quartet; faculty mentor Richard DeRosa;
*Vocal Jazz Soloist, graduate college: Mihwa Kim, faculty mentor Rosana Eckert;
*Jazz Arrangement, graduate college: Drew Zaremba, “As Time Goes By,” performed by the One O’clock Lab Band on Lab 2013; faculty mentor Richard DeRosa; and
*Small Vocal Jazz Group, graduate college: Mihwa Kim Band; faculty mentor Rosana Eckert.
The DownBeat Student Music Awards, founded in 1976, are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Hundreds of musicians, educators and industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners, and at least six winners have gone on to appear on the cover of DownBeat as professional artists.
Sanger native to sing in salute to troops
A Sanger native will perform with country musician Hunter Hayes in ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday on CBS (KTVT-TV, Channel 11).
Katie Spira of Sanger is a lieutenant junior grade in the U.S. Coast Guard. Spira, a vocalist, will join Hayes in singing “On Top of the World.”
Spira is an executive officer on Coast Guard cutter Adak.
Military service is in Spira’s blood. As the daughter of a captain and fighter pilot in the Belgian Air Force, she grew up listening to military stories, which instilled in her a reverence and loyalty for the Armed Forces.
After graduating from the Coast Guard Academy in 2011, she began serving in Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, where she put in more than 2,500 operational hours in a nine-month time span, and has the unique challenge of being the only woman in a crew of 22.
Music plays a big role in her military life: She sings every chance she gets, whether it’s at her desk or with her crew members during long hours of watch. Country music reminds her of home and has helped her through some of her toughest and loneliest moments.
“Music — in its powerful, inspirational, perfect way — can turn a truly painful experience into a positive one,” Spira said in a news release. “It can change your attitude and improve your mood in just a few stanzas. And whether I am feeling lonely, upset, frustrated, bored, happy, impassioned, or just plain silly, there is always a song to lift my spirits and help me keep pressing on.”
Chorus seeks singers for gospel flash mob
A local gospel chorus is recruiting singers to participate in a flash mob.
Gospel Witness, the Denton chorus, is looking for singers to join the event, which will promote a citywide worship event at 3 p.m. June 21 at Morse Street Baptist Church, 921 Morse St.
A flash mob is a coordinated performance — usually by a group of dancers or singers — in a public place such as shopping malls, stores, tourist landmarks and public transportation spots. While some performances promote groups, initiatives or events, most flash mobs are meant to simply surprise and delight passers-by with art.
Singers needn’t be a member of any church. Organizer and Gospel Witness director Barbara Scott said all singers need is a voice and a love of gospel music.
For more information or to sign up to join the flash mob, email email@example.com or call 940-442-9986.
UNT clarinet faculty to present workshop
All four clarinet faculty members from the University of North Texas College of Music will lead a four-day workshop next month for top high school clarinet players in the country. The ClarEssentials High School Clarinet Workshop will be held June 25-28 on the UNT campus.
Faculty members John Scott, Kimberly Cole Luevano, Deborah Fabian and Daryl Coad will lead students through a variety of lessons to help participants find their instrumental voices and learn the skills they need to get to the next level of clarinet playing.
Victoria Luperi, principal clarinetist of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, will perform a recital and give a clinic for the students.
“High school students don’t always know what they want to be in the future,” Luevano, who organizes the workshop, said in a news release. “So we want to open their eyes to what it takes to pursue a career as a professional musician.”
Each day of the workshop includes a free recital in Voertman Concert Hall in the UNT Music Building, 415 Ave. C. The four recitals are open to the public:
*Clarinet faculty recital at 1 p.m. June 25;
*Guest artist recital featuring Luperi at 7 p.m. June 26;
*Student recital featuring workshop attendees at 7:30 p.m. June 27; and
*Student chamber recital at 4 p.m. June 28.
Registration continues through June 2. For price options and more information, visit http://music.unt.edu/clarinet/claressentials.
Web book club to focus on civil rights figure
Texas PBS will present an online discussion with author Merline Pitre next month to give readers chance to learn more about racial desegregation in Texas.
In Pitre’s book In Struggle Against Jim Crow: Lulu B. White and the NAACP, 1900-1957, the author examines the life of the civil rights champion Lulu White, beginning with her birth in Elmo in 1900, and moving on to her marriage to Houston businessman and activist Julius White and her graduation from Prairie View College.
Pitre’s online book club discussion with readers is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. June 2. To participate, go to http://texasourtexas.texaspbs.org/book-club.
White, born Lulu Madison, grew up in the Jim Crow South and graduated from Old Terrell High School in 1917, eventually becoming the state director of the NAACP.
White’s struggles to gain rights for African-American citizens included politics and voting, labor, education, social and economic reforms and gender equality.
After serving as director of NAACP’s youth council and opening chapters around the state, White became president of the Houston chapter in 1939 and state director of the NAACP in 1949. The week before her death in 1957, the national NAACP established the Lulu White Freedom Fund in her honor.
Art league gives six awards for exhibit
The Visual Art League of Lewisville recently honored six artists in the league’s latest show, “The Wilds of Texas.”
First place went to Texas Wildflowers, a collaborative painting by Darla Bostick, Valerie Corwin, Jackie Haugen, Paula Haynes, Chuck Hendrickson, Connie Nicholson, Elaine Nienkamp and Joyce Tremethick.
The second-place prize was given to Tony Ulichnie for Ghost Tree.
Third place was given to Dulce Ruque for Ghosts of Texas.
Honorable mentions were given to Michael Powers for BLUBNNT and Scott A. Kilgore for Concentration. Special recognitions were given to Bob Longoria for Five Silver Buttons and Lorraine Hayes for Hi Ho Truck.
The exhibit will run through May 25 at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater Gallery, 100 Charles St. in Lewisville. Gallery hours are from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
— Staff reports