Posts Tagged ‘jazz combo’


The Gifts of Music

July 26, 2014

Clinic for students and evening concert


Students interested in attending the afternoon clinic should RSVP

Students who participate in the clinic with Brad and Peter will be incorporated into the evening performance.


Another Arts Teachers’ Story: Jake Sturtevant

May 1, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series will contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

Jake Sturtevant has been teaching High School Instrumental Music at Bonny Eagle High School (SAD6) in Standish Maine. He has taught there for 3 years, and before that he was at Washington Academy in East Machias for 3 years. He currently teaches Band, Guitar, Music Appreciation, Improvisation, and Songwriting. He also runs the after school Pep Band, Jazz Band, and Jazz Combo.

Jake has been a Teacher Leader in the first phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

2. What do you like best about being a music educator?

Seeing students acquire a passion and understanding of why we as humans need the arts in our lives. I also like the fact that I can go in on any given day and I could be randomly invited to play a game of hacky sack or Ninja, and that’s OK!

3. Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. Bb Major  = Comfort
  2. G Minor = Connections
  3. Ab, C, D, Eb, E, G, Bb= Creation

4. What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

If my assessments reflect the expectations they would have in a real-world music environment then I feel I have helped them prepare adequately.
I have a variety of assessments including performance assessments, self-assessments, concert reflections, essays, theory worksheets, and composition and improvisation activities. All of these assessments are there to make sure I can give specific feedback, and students can illustrate they can respond to that feedback and focus on what they need to do to develop on a particular skill or concept. This specific feedback and goal-setting is so much more helpful and productive then randomly assigning a symbol (letter or number).

5. What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Squash Pizza = Connections to interesting people
Building Airplanes in the Air = Doing it all on the fly with the help of some co-workers
E=mc2 makes a Bomb = Concepts to practice
Wicket Wystri Warrick = Just because I am a geek.

6. What are you most proud of in your career?

That when I feel like I finally get to the surface I remember to grab a snorkel as quick as I can.

7. What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Pride and laziness. Did I just say that?

8. Apple or PC?

Depends on the task. Apple most of the time though. Red delicious is my favorite!

9. What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

Working as a music educator in a public school with a degree in Music Composition.

10. Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

I see in a man…  no a woman…. oh, I just can’t tell, but he or she seems to be on a quest of some sort, a journey…….  no, they are playing a board game with lots of pieces that are hard to figure out which one goes where. They might think they got it figured out, and they say  “Alright, I’ll give it a try”, and then a tiny green thing says, “No! Do, or Do not, there is no try.”  So when the X-wing doesn’t come out of the swamp they get all discouraged, and think their life is over, but they don’t realize that sometimes it takes more then strength to prevail.
Now I see a broom…. no a witch…. A witch on a broom, laughing with that sinister type laugh as she tries to zap you with her very fake lightning bolts that come from her fingers, and she says “I’ll get you my pretty… and your little dog too!” And she tries to stifle you by giving you more mandates and paperwork, and by the way you have to be on the Emerald City committee too. And you grumble and complain, and think your life is over and you will be in prison for the rest of your life with all these green men who sing “Yo, he, ho” all day long. But then you realize that all it takes is a bucket of water, and a few friends, and life isn’t so bad after all. All that worrying and complaining didn’t really do you much good did it? Remember: it’s really about the friends you’ve made, and search for new buckets of water.

11. If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would travel with my family to a place where people are truly happy and thankful for anything they are given because they may have very close to nothing. And then I would spend a year with them getting to know them and hear their stories, laugh, cry, and play. Then I would give each of them or an organization that would help them the money. And of course we would create together in the process.

Thank you Jake for taking the time to tell your story in such a creative way!


MMEA Jazz All State Festival

March 26, 2012

Maine Music Educators Association bring students and adults together

In most areas of the country, March Madness means Basketball. That happens in Maine in February, but there is also a March Madness in Maine for students in the Arts. There are Regional and State Drama Festivals, Visual Art Shows and it is Music in Our School month, meaning concerts abound. Oh…and it’s Jazz Season…ALL month long!

The Maine Music Educator’s Association (MMEA) sponsors District and State Jazz Festivals for both Middle School and High School jazz groups throughout the state.  Tonight (Monday, March 26, 2012) at 9:00, Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) will broadcast some of Maine’s finest student Jazz Musicians from the MMEA Jazz All State Festival, held in Scarborough in January. You will have an opportunity to watch individual students from many Maine High Schools participate together in Jazz Bands, a Jazz Combo and a Jazz Choir.

In March, students participate in Jazz Ensembles which are part of their school music programs and these groups then compete against similar groups from other schools. First, these groups must qualify for the MMEA State Festival at an MMEA District Festival by receiving a certain score…any number of schools may qualify.  Then, each type of group has it’s own State Festival. If you love Jazz, you will love all of these festivals and be prepared for Maine’s student Jazz Musicians to blow you away with their talent! The first of the MMEA State Festivals was the MMEA High School Instrumental Jazz Festival, held at Mount Desert Island High School on March 16 and 17. On Friday, March 16th all Jazz Combos competed and schools that have more than one Jazz Band competed in the ‘Multiple’ Jazz Band category.  On Saturday, March 17th, all of the other High School Jazz Bands competed in three different venues and 4 different divisions. The divisions are determined by school size…all of the schools are ranked in order of size and then 4 equal divisions are created. There were a total of 37 schools involved, with 30 on Saturday (7 schools participated with combos only).

Awards for the High School Instrumental Festival were as follows:

In Division IV:

  • First Place–George Stevens Academy, directed by Steve Orlofsk
  • 2nd Place–Maine Central Institute (MCI), Directed by Dean Neal
  • 3rd Place–Old Orchard Beach, directed by Mark Manduca

In Division III:

  • First Place–Old Town High School, directed by Jeff Priest
  • 2nd Place–MDI (Darth Vader), directed by Dan Granholm
  • 3rd Place–Fryeburg Academy directed by C. Brent LeCasce.

In Division II:

  • First Place–Nokomis High School, directed by M. Stanley Buchanan
  • 2nd Place–Westbrook High School, directed by Phil Rich
  • 3rd Place Brewer High School, directed by Brady Harris

In Division I:

  • First Place–South Portland, directed by Craig Skeffington
  • 2nd Place–Brunswick High School, directed by Michael Scarpone
  • 3rd Place–Noble High School, directed by Mark Mumme.

In addition to these ordinals, the following schools had students that received outstanding musician trophies:

  • George Stevens Academy
  • Houlton High School
  • John Bapst High School
  • Ellsworth High School
  • MDI
  • York High School
  • Fryberg Academy
  • Nokomis High School
  • Brewer High School
  • Westbrook high School
  • Greely High School
  • South Portland High School
  • Thornton Academy
  • Brunswick High School

Congratulations to all of the participants!

This past weekend, Saturday March 23rd, the MMEA Middle School Instrumental Jazz Festival took place at Stearns High School in Millinocket. Once again, audiences were treated to the reason there are so many excellent High School Jazz Bands in the State of Maine. Excellent student musicianship was apparent in these groups. Again, there were 4 divisions, with a total of 33 bands representing 30 different schools from throughout the state.

Following are the results from Divisions I and II:

In Division I:

  • First Place–Falmouth Middle School Jazz  Band, under the direction of Jerry Barry
  • 2nd Place–Noble Middle School Jazz Band, under the direction of Marilyn Bachelder and 3rd Place–Greely Middle School Jazz Band, under the direction of Scott Thurston.

In Division II:

  • First Place–Lenonard Middle School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Shianne Priest
  • 2nd Place–Brewer Community School under the direction of Lanissa Nadeau
  • 3rd Place–Reeds Brook Middle School Jazz Band, under the direction of Becky Mallory

Complete results of outstanding musician awards and Divisions III and IV will be posted soon.

Next weekend, vocalists will take the stage in Ellsworth for the MMEA State Vocal Jazz Festival. On Friday, March 30th, Middle School Show Choirs will compete against one another and on Saturday, March 31st, High School Show Choirs and High School Jazz Choirs will compete.

If you are looking for an enjoyable way to spend your weekend, I strongly recommend that you find your way to Ellsworth High School. The students are sure to impress you, and I will have my own group there, so perhaps I will see you in Ellsworth!

Thank you so much to music educator Pam Kinsey for this post!

%d bloggers like this: