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UNT Jazz students garner numerous Downbeat awards

May 2, 2013

Via http://jazz.unt.edu/downbeat

Students in University of North Texas‘s Jazz Studies program were recognized 16 times in the 2013 DownBeat Student Music Awards. It’s the highest total of recognitions in this year’s awards.

Our program has been a leader in jazz education since 1946. We offer these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies with emphasis in instrumental performance, vocal performance, and arranging
  • Bachelor of Arts in Music
  • Master of Music in Jazz Studies with tracks in performance, pedagogy, and composition
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance with local concentration in Jazz Studies, with emphasis in performance and composition

Studying at UNT is surprisingly affordable. Our faculty are distinguished artists and dedicated teachers.
We invite you to use this form to request more information about our program.

Nine Winners
Jazz Soloist: Undergraduate College


Drew Zaremba, alto saxophone | Recorda-Me (Joe Henderson)
Faculty mentor: Brad Leali
Drew Zaremba is a composer, arranger, saxophonist, and woodwind player living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Drew enjoys a versatile career with performance work in jazz, gospel, and pit orchestra settings, and as a composer and arranger. Recently, Drew played tenor saxophone in the University of North Texas One O’ Clock Lab Band and served as lead alto in the Two O’ Clock Lab Band and the All-American College Band at Disneyland. Mr. Zaremba also received the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award, several Downbeat Awards for Original Compositions and as a soloist, and won third prize in the Vandoren Artist Competition.

Jazz Soloist: Undergraduate College

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Brian Ward, Bass | Refrigerator Blues (.m4a format)
Faculty mentor: Lynn Seaton
If a busy schedule represents a successful bass player, Brian Ward is enjoying a highly successful career. A strong and versatile bassist on both electric and upright, Brian has been described by his professors as player who will “do what is needed to make an ensemble feel good.” Currently a senior at the University of North Texas, Brian has had the privilege to perform with several of the university’s jazz ensembles, most notably the One O’Clock Lab Band under the direction of Steve Wiest, and the Two O’Clock Lab Band under the direction of Jay Saunders. Brian has also performed with the Zebras, an electric keyboard ensemble playing more fusion-oriented material, as well as many small groups, recitals, and other departmental performances. Brian works frequently around the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex with a variety of ensembles and also runs a recording studio. He has plans to pursue music in Los Angeles after graduation.

Jazz Soloist: Graduate College

Sergio Pamies, piano | Rhumba Flamenco (Chick Corea) | My One and Only Love (Wood-Mellin)
Faculty mentor: Stefan Karlsson

Blues/Pop/Rock Soloist: Graduate College

Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophone | mp3 excerpt | website
Faculty mentor: Brad Leali

Blues/Pop/Rock Group: Graduate College

The Refrigerators, Brian Ward, group leader | Hey Cats (.m4a format)
Faculty mentor: Lynn Seaton
The Refrigerators is a powerhouse group put together by Drew Zaremba and Brian Ward as a vehicle for their rock- and funk-oriented compositions. Composed of some of the best musicians at the University of North Texas, the Refrigerators features Drew on saxophone and Brian on electric bass, as well as Evan Oxenhandler on guitar, Addison Frei on keyboards, and Matt Young on drums. With a band this good at “preserving the groove” (pun intended), there is little doubt the results will be good.

Latin Group: Undergraduate College

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The UNT Latin Jazz Lab | Soul Ori-Cha (composed by Alex Fraile)
Faculty mentor: José Aponte
This ensemble ventures into the musical fusion between the Latin American rhythmic expressions and the American Jazz compositional/improvisational forms. The members of the ensemble are students from the University of North Texas Jazz Studies program. The students perform multiple concerts every fall and spring semesters which have featured recognized guest artists such as Michael Spiro, Ignacio Berroa, Duduka Da Fonseca and Luis Conte among others. Many of the renowned cultural and musical festivals such as the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, The Alma y Fuego Latino Festival, Denton’s Hispanic Heritage Festival, Dallas International Festival and the Sammons Center for the Arts in Dallas have featured the UNT Latin Jazz Lab. The group has released three CDs: En Clave (2006) and Dancing Small (2010) and the newest CD, Late Night Mambo (available as a digital product). These recordings are all available for purchase at UNT’s Jazz Studies Division office and the UNT College of Music online store. The group is directed by UNT Percussion/Jazz Studies faculty member José M. Aponte.

Original Composition – Lead Sheet: Graduate College

Emily Merrell, “Ondine’s Dance” mp3 excerpt | website
Faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Original Composition – Orchestrated Work: Undergraduate College
Drew Zaremba, “Race to the Finish
Faculty mentor: Richard DeRosa

Heard on the recording: The 2012 One O’Clock Lab Band, Directed by Steve Wiest
Soloists – Alex Fraile (alto), Drew Zaremba (tenor);
Saxes – Justin Pierce, Alex Fraile, Aaron Hedenstrom, Drew Zaremba, Spenser Liszt; Trumpets – Tyler Mire, Jake Boldman, Miranda George, Jordan Gheen, Miles Johnson; Trombones – Kevin Hicks, Jenny Kellogg, Julie Gray, Jon Gauer, Sean Casey; Rhythm – William Flynn (guitar), Sean Giddings (piano), Brian Ward (bass), Greg Sadler (drums). Available to order.

Jazz Arrangement: Graduate College

Monica Gastelumendi, “Barco Ciego” | Barco Ciego mp3
Faculty mentor: Jennifer Barnes
Mónica Gastelumendi (soprano I), Mariana Pollarolo (soprano II), Giannina Morinigo (alto I), Claudia Madueño (alto II)
Celín García (tenor), Enrique Pinto (bajo), Angel Rafaeli (piano), Arturo Miranda (cajón). Recorded at: Jose Carlos Ponce Studio, Lima, Perú.
Mónica Gastelumendi is a talented musician who has developed a strong professional portfolio both as a singer and a music educator in the artistic scene of Perú. Mónica is a very respected singer and is the Artistic Director of “Arpegio” Chamber Choir and former Director of the Vocal Division at the Jazz Jaus school in Lima. As Vocal Coach she has trained several singers and actors for Musical Theatre shows in the city of Lima and has prepared young talented singers to develop thriving artistic careers in Perú and abroad (USA, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Germany). Currently, Mónica is working towards a master’s degree in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas. Mónica is a recipient of the International Peace Scholarship (PEO) for the 2012-2013 academic year and has recently appeared in UNIVISION TV because of her leadership and educational work in Perú. In May of 2012 Mónica was selected to be a Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas as well as to be part of the nationally known vocal ensemble, The UNT Jazz Singers. She recently performed with the ensemble at the closing night of the International Conference of the Jazz Education Network in Atlanta.

Seven Outstanding Performances
Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble: Graduate College


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UNT Jazz Singers | mp3 excerpts
Faculty mentor: Jennifer Barnes

Vocal Jazz Group: Graduate College

Photo by Meejee Jacoba. Click for larger image.
Laura Otero & Payawarú
Faculty mentor: Stefan Karlsson
All songs performed by: Carolyn Curry, Emily Merrell, MeeJee Jacoba, Mónica Gastelumendi, Michelle Alonso, Laura Otero.
Dios te salve (Oh María)” Composed and Arranged by: Laura Otero
En Memoria de Justino” Composed by: Inés Granjaherrera Arranged by: Laura Otero
Waunana” Composed by: Traditional song of the Waunana community (Colombian indigenous community from the Pacific Coast) Arranged by: Laura Otero

Vocal Jazz Soloist: Graduate College

Monica Gastelumendi | Wave | Like Someone in Love
Faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Jazz Arrangement: Graduate College

Sarah Kervin, “Glitter In The Air” mp3 excerpt | website
Faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Blues/Pop/Rock Group: Graduate College

The Sarah Kervin Group | Let Him Fly | website
Faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert

Latin Group: Graduate College

Photo by Alyssa Hedenstrom. Click for larger image.
Laura Otero Colombian Project
Faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert
“Nuestra Canción” | mp3 excerpt Composed by: Laura Otero. Performed by: Laura Otero (voice), Brenton Bird (Drums), Dave Farrell (Bass), Scott Neary (Guitar), Austin Byrd (Piano), Aaron Hedenstrom (Clarinet).
Pienso en ti.” Composed and Arranged by: Laura Otero. Performed by: Laura Otero (voice), Brenton Bird (Drums), Dave Farrell (Bass), Scott Neary (Guitar), Nick Roach, Seth Weaver, Zach Marley, Hayden Mapel (Trombones)
Despistada” Composed by: Milena Benítez. Arranged by: Laura Otero. Performed by: Laura Otero (Voice and Loop), Dave Farrell (Bass)

Original Composition – Lead Sheet: Graduate College

Photo by Juliana Moreno.
Laura Otero, “Nuestra Cancion” | mp3 excerpt Composed by: Laura Otero. Performed by: Laura Otero (voice), Brenton Bird (Drums), Dave Farrell (Bass), Scott Neary (Guitar), Austin Byrd (Piano), Aaron Hedenstrom (Clarinet).
Faculty mentor: Rosana Eckert
Laura Otero, a native of Bogotá, Colombia, has been performing in musical theatre for 23 years, but is now earning her master’s degree in jazz studies at the University of North Texas on a Fulbright scholarship. In 2011, she released her first album, “Atrás,” with guitarist Daniel Pinilla. Together, they have toured several Colombian cities, and in 2012 had the opportunity to perform and promote their music in the U.S., Laura’s vocal arrangements have won important awards in Colombia and in 2012, she won a Latino Battle of the Bands with her vocal group at UNT, singing her original music and arrangements of traditional and popular Colombian songs. She is currently finding her own voice as a composer and solo artist, fusing the rhythms of Colombia with the language of jazz.

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  1. UNT students take top honor | Denton Jazz Chronicles

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