Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival


By Roni Flynn

Last weekend Edmonds Woodway’s three school jazz bands traveled to Moscow, Idaho to compete in the 51st Annual Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. The festival takes place over the course of two days and is hosted by the University of Idaho. Over 140 elementary, middle and high schools as well as some universities performed, reaching a total of over 4,000 students. These performers hailed from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia.

Edmonds Woodway swept the stage with a winning performance in four major performance categories. This year, seven singers performed at Lionel Hampton, singing two to three songs each. Among these were Unathi Machyo and Dominic Nye, both of whom were selected from hundreds to join one other student soloist and perform in front of thousands in the university’s stadium. During this concert, Unathi Machyo sang On Green Dolphin Street, a tune originally composed by Bronislaw Kaper. Dominic Nye performed Devil May Care, an upbeat composition written by Bob Dorough. After all three student performances, Dominic Nye was announced as the winner of the entire singing competition and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Idaho, should he choose to go there. Along with these singers, Kyle Bainbridge was selected as an outstanding high school musician for his solo on the alto saxophone.

It wasn’t just the soloists that won big at Lionel Hampton. Two Edmonds Woodway jazz bands and one combo were honored this year. The combo was composed of six seniors: Miriel McFarland on the drums, Rodney Ocfemia on the bass, Kyle Bainbridge on the baritone sax, Graeme Hafford on the alto sax, Nebee Yohannes on the piano, and Stuart Harrison on the tenor saxophone. Two out of three high school big bands that traveled to Lionel Hampton— Edmonds Woodway Jazz I and II— were honored as well. Both bands won part of the sweepstakes competition for high school jazz ensembles. In fact, Jazz I was named the top big band to compete at the Lionel Hampton this year. This landed them free entry into the competition next year as well as a brand new drum set.

From singers and soloists to combos and big bands, Edmonds Woodway swept the competition off its feet at the Lionel Hampton jazz festival this year. Be sure to support the music program on Saturday, March 10 at the Music Booster Gala. Congrats to the Edmonds Woodway jazz program!


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