Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SCPA Sextet Named Best Teen Band USA, Gets Grants, Germany Trip

Jazz Avenue with their prize.
 Jazz Avenue performers with their prize.
The Best Teen Band in the US comes from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), winning the title at School JamUSA.

The sextet "Jazz Avenue" won Best Teen Band in the U.S at the National Association of Music Merchants' (NAMM) annual School JamUSA festival in Anaheim on Jan. 21. Jazz Avenue includes students John Avery, (tenor saxophone), Marc Encabo (bass), Hiram Garza (keyboard), Chaz Cabrera (alto saxophone), Tyler Kreutel (drums) and Josh Vasquez (guitar).

“It’s beastly," said Avery. "All the bands were so good. It’s just ridiculously amazing that we won."

Competing against seven other finalist bands from across the U.S., Jazz Avenue won $5,000 for their school music education program, $1,000 toward the purchase of new band gear, a private music video recording session on the John Lennon Educational Bus, and a grand-prize trip of a lifetime to perform at the 2012 SchoolJam Germany finals in Frankfurt this March.

"The experience of attending the NAMM Show and winning Best Teen USA was bigger than anything we could have expected. These students have been working together throughout their high school years at SCPA and deserved this major recognition and opportunity," said Tamara Paige, SCPA music chair and jazz instructor.

While at School JamUSA, the SCPA Band members recorded "Area Fifty Funk," a song written by SCPA eleventh grader Joshua Vasquez, in a private music video recording session on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

With a focus on jazz, the SCPA students competed against Hip Hop, Pop, Alternative, Rock and Indie music performed by teen bands from around the nation. Second and third place runners-up hailed from Jeffersonville, Indiana and Knoxville, Tennessee, respectively.

Jazz Avenue was adjudicated by Disney talent casting director Stan Freese, Irwin Korfeld of InTune Partners and Westchester Media, Menzie Pittman of Contemporary Music Center, and Michael Smith of Peavey Electronics. In the "Best of" categories, Vasquez received "Best Guitar" and Avery received the "Judges Prize."

The public can hear Jazz Avenue in SCPA's performance of An American Portrait of jazz and classical music on Feb. 2, 2012 at 2:30 p.m., Feb. 3, 2012 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 4, 2012 at 2 p.m. in SCPA's Grand Theatre. For ticket information, go to the SCPA website and click on "Box Office Online."

SCPA is a college preparatory arts-focused magnet public school for students in grades 6 through 12 who have a strong interest, passion and talent in the arts. All prospective students interested in attending SCPA must apply through the school district's Enrollment Options Office. Entering high school students must audition as part of the admission process. Middle school students are selected through a lottery. Upcoming auditions for the Fall 2012-2013 school year will be held at SCPA on Feb. 25 and March 3, 2012. For more information about SCPA, and the upcoming high school auditions or current season of performances please visit