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GRB’s “The Full Effect” Jazz Ensemble Earns Big Awards at Festival

Students from G. Ray Bodley High School’s “The Full Effect” Jazz Ensemble recently traveled to the New Hartford Jazz Festival to earn a gold rating and numerous awards for their performances.

On Friday, March 3, the ensemble joined more than a dozen other schools in travelling to New Hartford High School. This year marked the 45th year of the New Hartford Jazz Festival, organized by Martin Hollister. Despite intimidating weather reports, the festival proved to be an exceptional event with local schools showing off their musical talents. Fulton participated in the AA class, competing against Liverpool, Saratoga Springs, and Oswego schools.

Last year, Fulton’s “The Full Effect” Jazz Ensemble earned a silver rating for their festival performance. This year, that recognition was elevated to gold, and they earned the honor of Best Rhythm Section at the festival.

“The students were highly determined and practiced diligently to prepare very challenging jazz charts,” said band director Stephanie Mata Mercado. The ensemble performed Feels So Good by Chuck Mangione, Jaime by Sammy Nestico and Blue Rondo A La Turk by Dave Brubeck and Kris Berg.

While the Ensemble as a whole earned its fair accolades, a number of individual musicians were also recognized. Braeden Frost (on trumpet), Finn Nichols (on tenor saxophone), Douglas VanSanford (on drums), Joe Cortini  (on piano) and Josh King (on alto saxophone) all received All Star Performance awards from the festival.

“The Full Effect’s” next performance is April 21 at the CNY Arts Community Center with the Will Gorman Trio. They will then host a joint concert alongside the Central Winds Music Educators’ Wind Ensemble on Monday, May 8 at the GRB auditorium at 7 p.m.

March is Music in our Schools Month, with eight concerts occurring throughout the Fulton City School District. Visit to view the calendar of events.