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Three jazz combos excel in district festival

The RE Combo earned straight superior ratings and qualified for the state tournament for the 12th straight year at the Florida Bandmasters Association District Jazz Music Performance Assessment in Key West on February 12. The combo led a successful day for Ransom Everglades – it was the first time three RE jazz combos played for ratings at a district event.
The RE Combo – Ari Bennett ’24, Martin Piedrahita ’24, Max Vallone ’22, Boris  Bialer ’22, Max Bast ’23, Adam Chopp ’22 – entered in grade 5 and earned straight superior ratings. In its first year, RE’s Blue Combo entered in grade 3 and earned split scores, narrowly missing an overall superior rating. The Ransom Combo entered in grade 4 and earned straight superior ratings.

Aidan Rothstein ’22, and Nathan Knight ’22 learned bass guitar to complete required instrumentation and allow their group to participate. Izzy Chong ’24 and William Malone ’24 did the same, learning and performing on drum set for the first time. Pianist Paloma Lopez ’25 performed as a percussionist in the symphonic band and on jazz piano for the jazz bands, both firsts for her. Director Jon Hamm continues his high level of praise for the commitment, effort, and artistry of all 14 members of this year‘s program.

Blue Combo, Grade 3, Excellent Rating
Izzy Chong ’24, alto sax
Paloma Lopez ’25, piano
Aidan Rothstein ’22, bass
William Malone ’24 drums
Nathan Knight ’22, Guitar
Santi Sauceda ’24, vibes

Ransom Combo, Grade 4, Superior Rating
Varun Raju ’24, alto sax
Miguel Arango ’24, trumpet
Santee Sauceda ’24, piano
Nathan Knight ’22, bass
Izzy Chong ’24, drums
William Malone ’24, Congas and euphonium

RE Combo, Grade 5, Superior Rating
Ari Bennett ’24, tenor sax
Martin Piedrahita ’24, trumpet
Max Vallone ’22, piano
Boris  Bialer ’22, bass
Max Bast ’23, drums
Adam Chopp ’22, guitar
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Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.