ANU students scoop prizes at Merimbula Jazz festival

Students from the Australian National University (ANU) School of Music have scooped the pool of prizes at the Merimbula Jazz Festival, one of Australia’s top jazz conventions of the year. 

Jazz Quest, the Festival’s annual competition draws in young musicians and bands from around the country and is a chance for them to compete, showcase their talent and jam with their contemporaries. 
First, second, third and fourth prizes totalling $1,500 were awarded to first year ANU music students Isaac Said, Joel Dreezer, Alex Wanjura and Tom Bell respectively. 

A fifth prize of a one-hour recording session at the Sapphire Coast Music School was won by Haris Hodzic who’s enrolled in the ANU pre-tertiary music course. 

Entrants had to be under 25 and play two contrasting pieces for the judges. 

Playing the double bass to a hushed spellbound audience, Isaac Said won first prize for “Stella by Starlight” by Victor Young and “Autumn Leaves” by Joseph Kosma. 

“It was so different from performing for fun; it felt like there was something at stake and that made it much more enjoyable for me,” said Isaac. 

“Playing against people my own age or just a bit older than me was a great experience too; it allowed me to see their standard and gauge myself against them.”

Joel Dreezer was awarded second prize for his renditions on the flute.   

Drummer Alex Wanjura, third with a prize played Art Blakey’s “Night in Tunisia” and Naima” by John Coltrane. 

“Playing music is always fun but being recognised gives you that extra kick and some reward to buy more drums,” said Alexander.

“It was a fantastic weekend playing music with such amazing musicians.”

Tom Bell won fourth prize playing alto sax. 

Head of the School of Music Professor Kenneth Lampl, congratulated the students, saying it was great exposure and a great experience for the young musicians. 

“The standard at the Merimbula Jazz festival is extremely high and to have every prize on offer at Jazz Quest go to our students is a testament to the quality of education and inspiration they receive from the ANU School of Music staff,” said Professor Lampl.
“We are so proud of their dedication to jazz and we have no doubt this is the beginning of stellar careers for all of them.”

Dr Kenneth Lampl  
Head of ANU School of Music 
T:  (02) 6125 2736  
M: 0437 491 922

Isaac Said  
School of Music student
M: 0407 513 759

Thomas Bell  
School of Music student
M: 0407 513 759 

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