On Saturday, April 30, 2011, three talented high school students competed at the Jazz Academy in the finals of Jazz Arts Group's 9th Annual Hank Marr High School Jazz Award. Dylan Bram, vibraphonist and senior at Dublin Jerome High School; William England, alto saxophonist and junior at Grove City High School; and Dan Hitchcock, tenor saxophone and junior at Worthington Kilbourne High School, were the three finalists for the 2011 award. Judges and professional musicians Pete Mills, Tom Carroll and Jim Rupp noted the outstanding talent of these three young musicians.
The playing levels of the participants seem to get better and better every year," stated co-judge Tom Carroll. This competition is extremely important in these times where music and arts are being cut back all across the board in public education from K-12. Keeping this American art form in the schools is extremely important to those who want to play this music as well as keeping it a part of the landscape of our communities."
This year, Dan Hitchcock was named the winner of the award. Hitchcock will receive a $500 cash award and perform as a featured guest artist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra at the JazZoo! concert in beautiful Waters Edge Park in the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, scheduled for July 22, 2011. Hitchcock became interested in jazz when his sixth grade piano teacher, Cynthia Adams, lent him a Glenn Miller CD. Since then, Hitchcock has been passionately studying jazz. He has been a participant in Jazz Arts Group's Youth Jazz program for four years, starting in the Columbus Youth Jazz Workshop as a middle schooler playing guitar. Hitchcock is now a member of the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra and featured on the tenor sax.
Columbus musical legend Hank Marr was one of the world's masters of the Hammond B-3 organ. Along with Hank's celebrity status as a member of the jazz elite, he was a dedicated and gifted educator. In recognition of over fifty years as a performer, teacher, arranger and conductor, the Jazz Arts Group established the Hank Marr High School Jazz Award as a tribute to this special individual. His willingness to pass it on" makes the encouragement of young jazz artists an important and meaningful activity.
If a young player had any questions he would stop in his tracks and take as much time with the youngster as needed," shared Carroll. On a personal note, I was one of those youngsters and it evolved to the point that Hank started to hire me to play with him. Then that introduced me to Rusty Bryant, Gary Carney, Ola Hanson, John Ulrich and MANY more local legends who I played with and became friends with."
Jazz Arts Group thanks Crabbe, Brown & James for its support of the Hank Marr High School Jazz Award. The Hank Marr High School Jazz Award also receives in-kind support from JECO (Jazz Education Connection of Ohio).
About the Jazz Arts Group
The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) is America's oldest not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to producing, performing and promoting jazz. JAG is the third largest performing arts organization in Columbus and consists of four focus areas: the Columbus Jazz Orchestra (CJO), one of the world's finest professional jazz orchestras; the Jazz Academy, JAG's extensive instructional programs educating both students and adults about jazz and American music; Inside Track, a new jazz and blues performance series produced at the historic Lincoln Theatre; and Affiliate Musicians, a program providing employment opportunities for professional musicians.