CONTACT:  Tom Whaley                                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 70338                                   10 MAR 2011





On Saturday, March 5, 2011, the Samohi Jazz big band and combo, under the direction of Tom Whaley, competed at the 43rd Annual Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival, the largest high school jazz festival in the world, at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston.


At the end of a thirteen-hour day, Samohi swept the top awards at the festival with first place in the highest division, Division 1-Big Band and Division 1-Jazz Combo.


Additionally, two Samohi students were chosen as the top soloists from the entire festival! Jake Noveck (guitar) was awarded the 1st place award for soloist in the big band portion, and Steven Gordon (piano) received 2nd place soloist award for big band.


Steven Gordon placed 1st in the soloist category for jazz combo and Jake Noveck placed 2nd in the jazz combo soloist category.


In addition, Eli Brown was awarded the "Outstanding Musicianship" award for his incredible work as the lead trumpet player.

Samohi was also given four 50% scholarships to the five-week Summer Jazz program due to the dominant performance of the band and combo at the festival. Samohi received more scholarships than any other band in attendance.


As part of the evening festivities, the winners from each division (there were six big band divisions and four combo divisions) performed on the main stage in the Veteran's Auditorium inside the Hynes Auditorium in front of a large crowd, and the live video feed was seen by many excited parents back in Santa Monica with tears of pride in their eyes.

300 bands, comprised of 3,000 students from all over the country, performed in front of judges from the Berklee College of Music in six divisions determined by size of school. Samohi competed in the highest and most competitive class of schools with enrollment of 1,500 or more students. Samohi placed above the best bands in the country, including past winners and top bands from New York, Massachusetts and other parts of the country.


In addition to the exciting day at the festival, the students also enjoyed a tour of Symphony Hall and Berklee College of Music, as well as guided tours of the amazing city of Boston.


“The students represented their state, city, and school with the utmost professionalism and class once again,” stated Tom Whaley, “and we are so very proud of all the hard work and community that resulted in a virtual sweep of the Berklee Jazz Festival.”


The trip would not have been possible without the support of the amazing parent chaperones, who sacrificed time away from their families and work to accompany our talented students to Boston.


We are so very fortunate to have such an amazing music program in our district!  Congratulations, Samohi Jazz Band!





1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138