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Jazz Studies students win 10 DownBeat music awards

The College of Music Jazz Studies program students and ensembles were recognized with 10 DownBeat Student Music Awards this year. The prestigious awards were announced in the June issue of the national jazz magazine DownBeat.  

Among the winners was the Two O’Clock Lab Band, Large Jazz Ensemble Graduate College Winner based on their work on the CD Kind of Two. The Two O’Clock Lab Band was directed by Jay Saunders, who was recently announced as the interim director of the One O’Clock Lab Band, the premiere ensemble of UNT's Jazz Studies program.

Two student works recorded on the One O’Clock Lab Band’s CD Lab 2013 under the direction of Steve Wiest also earned awards: doctoral student Keith Karns’ “The Square” was named Original Composition for Large Ensemble Graduate College Winner, and master’s student Drew Zaremba’s arrangement of “As Time Goes By” received the Jazz Arrangement Graduate College Outstanding Performance Award.

The DownBeat Student Music Awards are among the most significant awards that jazz students can receive.

“These awards recognize the many hours of work that our students and their mentors devote to their artistry,” said John Murphy, chair of the Division of Jazz Studies. “The awards show the comprehensive excellence of our program by recognizing instrumental and vocal soloists and groups, composers and arrangers, and jazz, Latin and blues/pop/rock styles.”

The full list of awards is below.

Six Winners:

  • Jazz Soloist Graduate College winner: Aaron Hedenstrom; faculty mentor: Brad Leali
  • Blues/Pop/Rock Group Undergraduate College winner: The Alex Hahn Crossing; faculty mentor: Brad Leali
  • Latin Group Graduate College Winner: Juan Chaves Big Band; faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa
  • Original Composition – Large Ensemble Graduate College Winner: Keith Karns, “The Square,” performed by the One O’Clock Lab Band on Lab 2013; faculty mentor: Mike Steinel
  • Large Jazz Ensemble Graduate College Winner: Two O’Clock Lab Band directed by Jay Saunders
  • Vocal Jazz Soloist Graduate College Winner: Michelle Alonso; faculty mentor: Jennifer Barnes

Four Outstanding Performances:

  • Blues/Pop/Rock Group Graduate College Outstanding Performance: Aaron Hedenstrom Organ Quartet; faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa
  • Vocal Jazz Soloist Graduate College Outstanding Performance: Mihwa Kim, faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert
  • Jazz Arrangement Graduate College Outstanding Performance: Drew Zaremba, “As Time Goes By,” performed by the One O’Clock Lab Band on Lab 2013; faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa
  • Small Vocal Jazz Group Graduate College Outstanding Performance: Mihwa Kim Band; faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

The DownBeat Student Music Awards, founded in 1976, are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners. At least six winners have gone on to appear on the cover of DownBeat as professional artists. Scores have been featured in the magazine and have won either Critics or Readers Poll honors. Even before becoming professionals, students have used this recognition to garner more than $10 million in scholarship opportunities.  

- Margarita Venegas, News Promotions

Posted on: Thu 08 May 2014

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