The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) has announced its winner of the 2010 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 24, 2010, three talented high school students competed at the Jazz Academy in the finals of the Jazz Arts Group’s 8th annual Hank Marr High School Jazz Award. Brian Rhodus, drummer and senior at Dublin Coffman High School; Richard Emery, guitarist and senior at Westerville South High School/Fort Hayes High School; and Dan Hitchcock, tenor saxophone and sophomore at Worthington Kilbourne High School, were the three finalists for the 2010 award. Judges and professional musicians Gene Walker, Tom Carroll and Eric Paton along with last year’s award winner, Chase Potter, noted that this year’s competition was the fiercest in its eight year history.
This year, Richard Emery was named the winner of the award. Emery, who will graduate this June and attend City College New York in the fall as a jazz studies major, will receive a $500 cash award and perform as a featured guest artist with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra at the first JazZoo concert of the summer season, July 16, 2010. Emery has been a member of Jazz Arts Group’s Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra for two years and as a result, has performed with Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Herlin Riley, and Etienne Charles. Emery won second place at the Virginia Commonwealth University National High School Composition Competition and has composed two original big band scores.
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.