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Jazz Arts Group announces winner of 2011 Hank Marr High School Jazz Award

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by Mark Subel on May 9, 2011

The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) has announced its winner of the 2011 Hank Marr High School Jazz Award. This award demonstrates excellence in musicianship and performance amongst central Ohio’s young
students of jazz.

On Saturday, April 30, 2011, three talented high school students competed at the Jazz Academy in the finals of Jazz Arts Group’s 9th Annual Hank Marr High School Jazz Award. Dylan Bram, vibraphonist and senior at Dublin Jerome High School; William England, alto saxophonist and junior at Grove City High School; and Dan Hitchcock, tenor saxophone and junior at Worthington Kilbourne High School, were the three finalists for the 2011 award. Judges and professional musicians Pete Mills, Tom Carroll and Jim Rupp noted the outstanding talent of these three young musicians.

“The playing levels of the participants seem to get better and better every
year,” stated co-judge Tom Carroll. “This competition is extremely important
in these times where music and arts are being cut back all across the board
in public education from K-12. Keeping this American art form in the schools
is extremely important to those who want to play this music as well as
keeping it a part of the landscape of our communities.”

This year, Dan Hitchcock was named the winner of the award. Hitchcock will
receive a $500 cash award and perform as a featured guest artist with the
Columbus Jazz Orchestra at the JazZoo! concert in beautiful Waters Edge Park
in the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, scheduled for July 22, 2011. Hitchcock
became interested in jazz when his sixth grade piano teacher, Cynthia Adams,
lent him a Glenn Miller CD. Since then, Hitchcock has been passionately
studying jazz. He has been a participant in Jazz Arts Group’s Youth Jazz
program for four years, starting in the Columbus Youth Jazz Workshop as a
middle schooler playing guitar. Hitchcock is now a member of the Columbus
Youth Jazz Orchestra and featured on the tenor sax.

Columbus musical legend Hank Marr was one of the world’s masters of the
Hammond B-3 organ. Along with Hank’s celebrity status as a member of the
jazz elite, he was a dedicated and gifted educator. In recognition of over
fifty years as a performer, teacher, arranger and conductor, the Jazz Arts
Group established the Hank Marr High School Jazz Award as a tribute to this
special individual. His willingness to “pass it on” makes the encouragement
of young jazz artists an important and meaningful activity.

“If a young player had any questions he would stop in his tracks and take as
much time with the youngster as needed, ” shared Carroll. “On a personal
note, I was one of those youngsters and it evolved to the point that Hank
started to hire me to play with him. Then that introduced me to Rusty
Bryant, Gary Carney, Ola Hanson, John Ulrich and MANY more local legends who
I played with and became friends with.”

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