The Genesee-Wyoming Music Educators Association is celebrating the talent of high school musicians and recent alumni in a series of social media performances.
The goal of the performances is to recognize the student musicians while also creating educational opportunities for viewers.
The performances, to be presented online during the next six weeks, will feature recipients of the John Mikulski Career Music Scholarship, which is awarded to two students each year who desire to pursue a career in music. Each year, students interested in the scholarship audition in front of a panel of judges and complete an interview process.
“It goes without saying that the two recipients per year represent the top of the many great qualities of the students in GWMEA, and are a prime example of the music excellence in our local youth,” said Dan Klinczar, vice president of GWMEA and a music teacher at Alexander Central School.
The first performance features Lowell Chamberlain, a senior at Alexander Central School, who will study studio composition in the fall at SUNY Purchase.
Future performances will feature students who graduated in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Lowell is a multi-instrumentalist whose primary instrument is guitar, which he plays for a 90-second solo in his video. On a shelf behind him are album covers from recordings by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen’s first album and Guns ‘n’ Roses, groups that all feature well-known guitar players.
Lowell says his greatest high school music memory is being part of the Alexander Jazz Experience. Being part of the group “was not only the most wholesome and fulfilling introduction to jazz, but it also left me with a gratitude and sense of preparedness for performing in ensembles,” says Lowell, who also plays tenor sax, trombone and bass guitar.
It was with the Jazz Experience that Lowell says he had one of his favorite performance experiences. It was a 2017 concert at the Riviera Theater in Buffalo for the Music is Arts Festival.
“We played a combination of jazz standards such as ‘Cold Duck Time’ and ‘St. Thomas’ as well as some funk/fusion jams such as ‘Chameleon’ and ‘Watermelon Man’,” Lowell says.
His goal is to work in the music industry as a composer or arranger, and songwriter. He enjoys spending time composing and producing using Abelton Live, a digital audio workstation.
Among his influences, he cites his teacher Dan Klinczar, who is associate director of bands and director of jazz studies at Alexander Central, Michael League of Snarky Puppy, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Stephen Sondheim.
At Alexander, Lowell has been member of track and swimming teams. He has also appeared shows with Batavia Players, earning a nomination for outstanding featured actor in a play for the theater company’s 2016 production of Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.”
Performances will be posted across the GWMEA’s social media platforms, including Facebook (@GWMEA), Instagram (@gwmeamusic) and Twitter (@gwmea).
The videos will also be available Thursdays on thedailynewsonline.com.
The GWMEA, which includes 11 schools in Genesee and Wyoming counties, works to enhance students’ musical experiences through solo and ensemble opportunities.