Ventura Music Festival Student Jazz Competition

High school jazz musicians performed for the judges and audience.

On Jan. 22, in the Pavilion of the Pierpont Inn judges awarded cash prizes to outstanding Southern California’s best high school jazz musicians as the Ventura Music Festival (VMF) kicks off their new year.

This was 11th annual competition for students and was attended by over 100 who enjoyed some great jazz musicians and the rain.

Renowned musicians Bevan Manson, Eddie Arkin and Steve Marsh were the judges for the completion.

The 5 finalists that performed were Ben Farahi (guitar, 16 Hamilton Academy of Music Los Angeles), Jonah Goldstein (guitar, 16 Calabasas high School, Matthew Michalek (16, alto sax Thousand Oaks High School), Henry Urschel (also sax, 16 Dos Pueblos High School Santa Barbara) and Angelo Velasquez(drums, 18 Newbury Park High School). They were backed up by Bevan Manson on piano, Tom Etchart on bass and Charles Levin on drums.

All of the judges agreed that the students were all outstanding and how hard it was selecting the best but finally decided to award first place to drummer Angelo Velasquez who was the oldest of the students so we can expect several of them to be back next year.

They will be the performing for the public throughout the year, including on Feb. 21st when the VMF announces the 2017 July Festival program at City Hall. So be sure to attend to enjoy the music and be introduced to this year’s VMF.


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