[ read press release ]

from Buko Magazine:

Watch out Portland, and the world!

By Ty Hitzemann

May 6th- What a great evening the OMHOF Scholarship Awards were! Another stellar collection of exceptionally gifted high school musicians from around Oregon were awarded money for continuing education in their various musical endeavors. Exceptional skills were showcased one by one as they came forward, took the stage and performed during an evening filled to the brim with creativity, passion and grace.

The Oregon Music Hall Of Fame strives each year to set up funding methods for such awards, and continually seeks to recognize the best , brightest and most influential musicians that Oregon has to offer. It’s a scrutinizing task, as this year OMHOF’s board selected four exceptionally gifted Oregon High School Seniors, out of 120 applicants, to accept monetary gifts toward scholarship in their various endeavors. Ultimately, the goal is not only to increase the dollar amount to future selected winners, but to also increase the monetary amounts each and every year through different means.

First up was intermediate, soon-to-be absolute pro: percussionist Mattew Keown from Springfield High School, who has already won in several categories and medals in Oregon at both District and State levels. He lives for the next one coming later this year. Matt’s record is stunning in that he has worked with other noteworthy percussionists from NY, Detroit and LA Philharmonic as well as the Metropolitan Opera…wow!!

Matt’s performance on Marimba to start the evening ceremony was what I’d call extremely powerful and energetic. He accomplished 2 movements for ‘Solo Dancer‘ by Ekhart Kopetzki. The audience was captivated as he effortlessly made his way throughout these songs with meticulous calculation and purpose. His concentration was at once mesmerizing and tactile. The pause between movements was somewhere between a miniature eternity and breathless crescendo…worth the wait indeed!

Kate Davis from West Linn High School gave an invigorating performance which included both Bass and Vocals, showcasing both exceptional talent and sense of humor. Kate has a great personality and a particular affinity for entertaining her audience. She performed the songs: “Whisper Not, Little Girl and Lonely Town. Tom Grant saw fit to back her up on piano along with Ron Steen playing drums. One can only imagine the privilege of peaking interest in such legendary musicians. Yet who could be surprised by them taking interest in these youths? These young people are a testament to exceptional talent and drive to master their craft, as well as what the power of music can inspire. The winning combination of dedication, practice and will to succeed is bound to attract the attention of Portland’s own musical masters to accompany.
Kate’s vocals were riveting to say the least…full of passion, grace and vibrato. Well done! 

Maya Dair Rothfuss from Portland attends the Portland Waldorf School. She freights an impressive record of Master Class in playing viola, as well as bass. She is a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic, winning 3 Orchestral All-State honors over a four year period, as well as first place for both of her well-practiced musical talents. Her other achievements are too numerous to mention, but could not over-shadow her great performance on the stage.

She performed “Der Schwanenendrehet (1st movement)”, by Hindemith on viola, and carrying the piece up to the heavens with one of her instructors accompanying her on piano. She topped her performance off with 2 vocal movements: Silent Noon by Vaughn Williams, and “voi Che Sapete“, by Mozart.
Maya carefully strode the stage along with her muse while expressing an ease of a consummate professional, which in many ways she already is. Her Scholarship Award came from Audix Microphones of Wilsonville, Oregon, who manufacture some of the best performance microphones anywhere.

Florence, Oregon Siuslaw High School student Kai Sandoval has an incredible affinity for playing jazz well beyond his young years. It seems worthy to mention that a good number of contemporary jazz pioneers started playing at very young ages, some produced legendary classics while still in their teens. Charley Parker created innovative approaches to melody, rhythm, and harmony while in his teens. Kai exercises an enormous ability to inject a new influence upon potential contemporaries who may strive to innovate new jazz. He exhibited good tempo, virtuosic technique and improvisation based on harmonic structure.
He clocked in a couple classic jazz standards. First was Parker’s, “Billy’s Bounce“, a complex yet airy song…nice pick.

OMHOF Board member Kevin Rankin accompanied on drums to Benny Golson’sI Remember Clifford“, a melancholy blues number written for a young man cut-off tragically in his prime. Miles Davis‘ ode to “Donna Lee” Russell was his finale. One can only figure such talented individuals such as Kai are destined to create some pregnant ripples throughout the local jazz community and beyond. His trumpet playing showed an acute edge for originality.

OMHOF President Terry Currier provided introductions and descriptions for the Awards in front of the very proud teachers, friends and family. All of the recipients posed proudly with their Scholarship awards of One Thousand Dollars each along side the entire OMHOF Board and supporting musicians.