Big Bands Win MAJE Medals

Rivers’ Honors Big Band and Big Band both competed at the MAJE Senior District Competition on Wednesday, February 28 with great success. The Honors Big Band won a Gold Medal, while the Big Band—new this year and competing for the first time—won a Bronze Medal.
In addition to finishing first, Honors Big Band members Joe Nedder ’18, trombone; Michael Manasseh ’19, drums; and Henry Lewis ’20 received outstanding musicianship awards. Joe Nedder was also named the MVP for the entire festival, which is sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Jazz Educators.
Three members of the Big Band—Michael Idzal ’21, piano; Cole Sussman ’20, bass; and Aiden Keusch ’21, trumpet—each received an outstanding musicianship award.
“A great day of music for Rivers,” commented Philippe Crettien, director of Rivers’ Jazz Program. “Rivers’ jazz bands are on a roll! This was a great result for the Big Band for their first competition.”
It is the second time this year that the Honors Big Band has won the top award in competition. In early February, the Band won First Place at the Berklee High School Competition, and the Select I Combo came in fourth. Joe Nedder and Michael Manasseh also received individual recognition at that event.
This has been an extraordinarly busy time for Rivers’ musicians and singers. On Sunday evening close to 100 students participated in the Upper School Arts Night at Jordan Hall. The Upper School Orchestra, Men's and Women's Choruses, both Big Bands, and a piano trio of Apsara Balamurugan ’20, Estelle Luong ’19, and Olivia Xu ’20 performed.
The Arts Night was held just two days after the conclusion of the Upper School winter production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at Regis College. The musical featured many of the same students who performed at Arts Night and at the MAJE Festival.
In addition, five students are participating this week in the annual Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s All-State Festival at Symphony Hall in Boston. Chosen for the second year in a row for the jazz band were Michael Manasseh and Joe Nedder. Also playing this year are Lindy Billhardt ’19, string bass in the orchestra; Alex Clay ’18, clarinet in the band; and Simonida Spasojevic ’19, flute in the orchestra.
Joshua Rocha ’21 will join the chorus at the Junior Eastern District festival on March 9 and 10 at Lincoln-Sudbury High School.