The competition’s finalists are selected from dozens of high school musicians.
Serving as competition judges, renowned musicians Bevan Manson, Eddie Arkin, Tom Buckner and Tom Scott selected the winners of the Ventura Music Festival 2020 Student Jazz Competition. Each year the winners receive $500, $250 and $100 cash prizes for first, second and third place, respectively. The students also receive multiple opportunities from VMF to perform for the public throughout the year, including the annual Rising Stars concert in May and other events to be announced.
First place went to Andre Burton, a junior at Adolpho Camarillo High School, on the drums. Second place went to Benny Conn, a senior at Agoura Hills High School, on trombone. Third place was a tie between Mak Yorihiro, a senior at Century Academy High School, on tenor sax, and Finn Dunham, a junior at Thousand Oaks High School, on alto sax. And, honorable mention was given to Cole Petridis, a junior at Agoura Hills High School, on trombone.
The annual competition’s finalists are selected from dozens of high school musician entries. For the live competition, each musician plays a piece they’ve chosen, spotlighting their improvised solos of original or classic jazz or blues tunes. They’re backed up by professionals: this year, Bevan Manson on piano, Tom Etchart on bass and Sinclair Lott on drums.
The 2020 Competition performance took place on January 26 at the Pierpont Inn, in Ventura. Mistress of Ceremonies was Ventura Music Festival Executive Director, Susan Scott and Master of Ceremonies was drummer, Charles Levin.