Anthony Nguyen – Winner
Anthony Nguyen is a 17 year old who has lived in St. Catharines for the majority of his life. He will be going into Grade 12 this upcoming 2017 fall. In terms of music, he has been playing since he was young; starting with piano when he was 5 years old, and predominantly focusing only on classical music. When Anthony was only 11 years old, his school introduced him to the saxophone. Two years later, he joined his school’s Jazz Band. This was when Anthony discovered his passion for jazz music. Recently, Anthony has played in the CISMF Jazz Band, a music festival composed of wonderful musicians around the province, and MusicFest Canada, another music festival where musicians across the country come to play! In the future, Anthony is interested in pursuing a healthcare career. This said, he hopes that alongside his dream, he can continue to play and perform on his sax!
4 Beats Behind – Winner
We put the FUN, in Funky! Our members are Evan Davis, Jake hunter, Dexter Sonier, Chris Botts, Kyle Martin, and our new addition Adam Lewczynski
Sydney Bergevin – Winner
Sydney Bergevin (known as Sydney B) is a multi-talented 16 year old who has already been performing for almost ten years. Her debut album In Other Words released in 2016 is a collection of jazz standards from the American Songbook produced by legendary trumpet player Charlie Bertini. As a songwriter, she has released 3 original singles including “Can You Find Me Tonight” which has a rockabilly swing vibe to it. Growing up in Niagara, Ontario, Sydney has held leading roles in many musical theatre productions including Grease, Hairspray, Into The Woods and The Drowsy Chaperone. In between vocal lessons with Juno Award winner Liberty Silver and collaborating with various musicians, Sydney is focusing on her songwriting. Her musical influences are evolving to include modern artists Hedley, 21 Pilots and Alessia Cara along with the legends Etta James, Elvis Presley and The Beatles. As Sydney is growing up, she is discovering who she is and who she wants to be as an artist.
Ben Macdonald – Runner Up
Ben Macdonald became interested in vocal music several years ago and more recently discovered his love of piano. He has gained vocal experience through school theatre performances and talent shows as well as high school music performances over the last two years. He began studying jazz piano only three months ago under the talented Peter Shae. Influenced by renowned jazz piano players such as Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Art Tatum, Ben hopes to continue to study music, both piano and vocals. This is Ben’s first appearance performing in the Niagara Jazz Festival.
Blip Blip Girls – Runner Up
The Blip Blip Girls are a jazz sextet dedicated to jazz covers of music from movies and video games. Video game and movie music is often pushed to the background as mere ambient noise. The group finds an untapped well of musical potential in these familiar tunes, and combines them with their love of jazz to create songs you never knew you wanted (jazz fusion/ soul Pokémon works surprisingly well). Each of the members brings their own unique talents and style to the band, but are united by their mutual love for jazz. Band Members (from left to right): Michael Cheng-Keyboard, Eugene Zhang-Bass, Leon Zeng-Vocals, Mateja Crni-Drums, Johnny Liang-Trumpet, Mya Wong-Tenor Saxophone.
Ariel Shetzen Quintet – Winner
Ariel Shetzen, 22 years old, is a Toronto-based jazz vocalist who draws influence from Sarah Vaughan and Norma Winstone. She studied classical piano and theory with the Royal Conservatory of Music, holds her Grade 9 Piano, Grade 4 Theory, and is certified through their Elementary Piano Pedagogy program. Ariel is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto Jazz program with honors. She has studied with Juno-award winner Sienna Dahlen, and acclaimed vocalists Alex Samaras and Christine Duncan. In 2013, Ariel was one of six Canadians nominated for the Slaight Family Scholarship for the Berklee College of Music, which is a full-tuition scholarship offered to two Canadian students each year. In addition to her studies, Ariel has had the opportunity to sing with Carol Welsman at Koerner Hall for Havergal College’s 120th Anniversary, and was chosen to perform for Jane Harbury’s Discovery series at Hugh’s Room.
Patrick Smith, 21, is a saxophonist/composer based out of Toronto, Canada. He is an active bandleader and sideman currently involved in the Patrick Smith Quartet, Smith.Heard.Eskritt, SHDW CLN, Brother Levon, and many other projects. He is currently working towards the recording of “Spherical Drifting” an original suite for jazz quartet and strings as well as the debut EP for the improvising collective Saorsa.
Hailing from Toronto, 18 year old Carter Brodkorb has been an active Pianist and Composer on the Toronto jazz scene since he was 13. Throughout his young career, Carter has been fortunate enough to share the stage with the likes of Pat Metheny, John Clayton, Lewis Nash, Dick Oatts, Wycliffe Gordon, Tom Scott, Tiger Okoshi, and Pat Labarbera, among others. He has performed across Canada and the United States at festivals and conferences such as the Toronto Jazz Festival, Jazz Educator’s Network, Vail Jazz Festival, Port Townsend Jazz Festival, and MusicFest Canada. Winner of awards such as the 2016 Phil Nimmons – National Arts Centre Outstanding Jazz Musician Award, Downbeat International Magazine Award for Best Original Composition, and the Rex Hotel Rising Star of the Year Scholarship, Carter is now a student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a degree in Jazz Performance.
22 year old Chris Brinton is an upright bassist who draws influence from Ray Brown and Dave Holland. Originally from Powell River, BC, Chris studied with Walter Martella, Jodi Proznick, and Ken Lister before undergoing his mentorship with Jim Vivian at the University of Toronto Jazz Studies Program. During his time in Toronto, Chris has opened for the Florian Hoefner Group and has shared the stage with Chase Sanborn, Alex Dean, and Jerry Bergonzi. Although he is now a student of Neuroscience and Psychology, he remains an active sideman in the Toronto music scene, currently playing in groups such as the Triple Baritone Band, which can often be heard at the Rex Jazz and Blues Bar.
Nicolas Donovan is a 20 year old, up and coming Toronto musician, drummer and composer, currently studying jazz performance at the University of Toronto. Coming from a strong musical background, Nicolas has been playing the drums since the age of ten, with five years of prior piano experience. Nicolas began to perform on the Toronto rock scene in high school, before branching out into other styles, varying from jazz, to funk, to hip hop, to brass house. The recipient of an entrance scholarship at UofT, Nicolas has had the opportunity to study and perform with Canadian jazz legends such as Terry Clarke, Dave Young and Jim Lewis. Nicolas brings his creativity and musicality, as well as a wide variety of professional performance experience, to any playing or teaching setting.
Cynthia Fay – Winner
Cynthia Fay is a soul, folk, RnB, jazz, influenced singer songwriter. She started singing and songwriting in high school, and released her first EP at the age 16. She has performed in various places in and around Toronto including the Danforth music hall, Nathan Philips square, and she will be performing in a concert she is putting together on August 5th in Sarnia Ontario with her band, “Cynthia Fay & Friends”. She is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Music Program at Humber College and is currently writing and arranging new original material for her second album.
Andrew Beg – Runner Up
Andrew Beg is one of the newest and most exciting young crooners on the Toronto jazz scene. While completing his diploma program in Music Performance & Technology at Metalworks Institute and honing his abilities as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, he discovered a love of jazz and traditional pop, being influenced by pioneers like Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker. In 2015, his vibrant and distinct baritone caught the attention of Canadian chanteuse Adi Braun, who has since become a mentor and friend. His live debut as a jazz vocalist saw him perform a tribute to Sinatra at the prestigious Jazz Bistro in August of that year, backed by renowned pianist David Restivo. He went on to record his debut EP in September-October with Restivo and acclaimed musicians Morgan Childs and Jon Maharaj. 2016 saw the now 23-year-old perform at private functions for the Cardiac Health Association of Canada as well as two nights at Jazz Bistro as a guest vocalist with the Joe Sealy Quartet, featuring Paul Novotny, Daniel Barnes, and Alison Young. Andrew plans to record an album of both self-penned compositions and classic standards in the near future, while continuing to perform live at both top venues and private events.