For many musicians, competitions can be extremely motivating.  Sometimes it may be the prizes that motivate our practice.  Other times, it might be the opportunity to showcase our work that pushes us to excel.  This year, in hopes of inspiring young jazz musicians to continue pursuing their talents despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Carolina Jazz Festival hosted a Solo Performance Competition for high school jazz students of all experience levels as part of their three day event.  Students were invited to submit videos of themselves performing with a backing track to be considered for one of several awards.  Those who submitted videos also received coaching from esteemed guest artists Roland Barber and Nathan Warner as well as UNC Faculty members.

The Philharmonic Association is proud to announce that all five of the competition winners are members of our Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble. The winners of the Solo Performance Competition, as listed on UNC Chapel Hill’s website, are as follows:

First Prize – Zeb Jewell-Alibhai, trumpet
Second Prize – Joseph Foglia, saxophonist
Honorable Mention – Alex Welch, bass
Honorable Mention – Emma Gonzalez, voice
Honorable Mention – Luke Ramee, trombone

We are lucky to have all five of these talented musicians in our Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble.  Something interesting about Zeb’s accomplishment is that he won first prize playing trumpet, but tenor saxophone is the instrument he plays in TYJE!

As an artistic organization, we admire these students not only for their obvious musical skills, but also their dedication to the pursuit of their passion. It can be all too easy to get discouraged by circumstances and to give up practicing.  But what the Carolina Jazz Festival and the winners of their solo competition remind us is that musical growth is always possible, even this year.  Congratulations Zeb, Joseph, Alex, Emma, and Luke for this incredible accomplishment!  We are proud to have you as members of the Philharmonic Association.