2019 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra Includes Six Women!

June 04, 2019
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ABOVE: 2019 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle, July 1, 2019. ©Robert Wade

We are pleased to reintroduce our education blog in 2019! Coming up in June, we have a tour of the Pacific Northwest with our Next Generation Jazz Orchestra to the Victoria International JazzFest, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle, Washington from June 29-July 1.

Featuring the best high school jazz musicians in the country, we are excited to announce that six women musicians have been selected to the 2019 NGJO, a milestone for the band. This year’s musicians include Summer Camargo (trumpet, Dillard Center for the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); Jayla Chee (bass, Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif.); Zion Dyson (vocal, The Bishop's School, San Diego, Calif.); Serena Geroe (guitar, Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, Calif.); Kellin Hanas (trumpet, Wheaton North High School, Wheaton, Ill.); and Veronica Leahy (alto saxophone, Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte, N.C.). You can read the bios of the 2019 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra members here.

Some of the music the 2019 NGJO will be playing is:

“Blues in Hoss’ Flat” (Frank Foster)
“The Tattooed Bride” (Duke Ellington) Features Veronica Leahy, clarinet
“Bernie’s Journey” (George Stone)
“Giant Steps” (John Coltrane, Orch. George Stone)
“Epistrophy” (Thelonious Monk, Orch. John Fedchock)
“Almost Like Being in Love” (Frederick Loewe/Alan Jay Lerner) Features Zion Dyson, vocal
“The Best Things in Life Are Free” (Ray Henderson/Buddy DeSylva/Lew Brown) Features Zion Dyson, vocal
“From Above” (Aaron Hedenstrom)
“80 Tears of Joy” (Summer Camargo) NGJO trumpeter
“Pistachio” (Drew Zaremba)

Since 1971, it has been the norm that two or three women have been selected to the band every year, but doubling that number in 2019 is unprecedented. “I’m so thrilled that this year the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra represents what we see all across the country in so many excelling high school jazz programs,” said Paul Contos, NGJO Director.

Some of the women alumni from the band over the years include Akili Bradley, Sarah Cline, Natalie Cressman, Tanya Darby, Kanoa Mendenhall, Hailey Niswanger, Elena Pinderhughes, Stacy Rowles, Patrice Rushen, Laila Smith, and Kate Williams.

2019 NGJO members Summer Carmago, Jayla Chee and Veronica Leahy were also selected earlier in the year to the Monterey Jazz Festival’s inaugural Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo, which made its premiere at the Jazz Education Convention in January 2019 in Reno. They also performed at the 49th Next Generation Jazz Festival in April, and will be performing at the 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

Above: The 2019 Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo at the Jazz Education Convention in Reno in January 2019. The combo's Jayle Chee (bass); Veronica Leahy (saxophone) and Summer Carmago (trumpet) are also members of the 2019 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

Next Generation Jazz Orchestra vocalist Zion Dyson is also a Next Generation Jazz Festival alumna – in 2019, she won the High School Soloist Division at the 49th Next Generation Jazz Festival and will be appearing with that group at MJF62.  She was also part of the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory New Soil Ensemble, which placed third in the High School Conglomerate Combo division at the 2019 NGJF. Zion was recently featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune in an article that also interviewed Gilbert Castellanos, a distinguished alumnus of the NGJO.

Above: 2019 NGJO Vocalist Zion Dyson receiving her first-place trophy from MJF board member Ken Gordon at the 49th Next Generation Jazz Festival.

We hope you can join the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra on tour with these talented musicians!

2019 NGJO Tour Dates

JUNE 29: 36th TD Victoria International JazzFest, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
JUNE 30: 33rd TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
JULY 1: Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, Seattle, Washington
SEPT. 26: Concert on the Lawn, Monterey Fairgrounds, Monterey, California
SEPT. 26: Jazz Legends Gala, Tehama Golf Club, Carmel, California
SEPT. 27-29: 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, California

2019 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra
Paul Contos, Director

Veronica Leahy, alto / Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte, N.C.
Ian Munoz, alto** / New World School of the Arts, Miami, Fla.
Daiki Nakajima, tenor / Prospect High School, Saratoga, Calif. (MJF62)
Makoto Yorihiro, tenor / Century Academy High School, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Dylan McHann, tenor / Gibbs High School, St. Petersburg, Fla. (Summer tour)
Jason Arkins, baritone** / Carmel High School, Carmel Hamlet, N.Y.

Summer Camargo, split lead / Dillard High School, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Grady Flamm, split lead / Rio Americano High School, Sacramento, Calif.
Ethan Pires / Northgate High School, Walnut Creek, Calif.
Kellin Hanas / Wheaton North High School, Wheaton, Ill.
Ethan Avery** / Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Santa Monica, Calif.

Ilai Macaggi / Green Valley High School, Henderson, Nev.
Leo Markel*** / Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Benjamin Conn** / Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, Calif.
Sam Keedy** / Denver School of the Arts, Denver, Colo.
Joe Turgeon** (bass) / Jesuit High School, Sacramento, Calif.

Esteban Castro, piano / Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, N.J.
Serena Geroe, guitar / Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, Calif.
Jayla Chee, bass / Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif.
Peter Glynn, drums** / Columbia High School, Maplewood, N.J.
Zion Dyson, vocal / The Bishop's School, San Diego, Calif.

** 2-year NGJO Member
*** 3-year NGJO Member