Drum Roll, Please: A great, new Student Competition


On March 19 we had our latest Student Jazz Competition! It was an awesome event. Congratulations to all of the wonderful students! The new format, using a monthly Jazz Gumbo slot to present our student competition, worked! The venue gave the students the feeling as if they were playing in more of a “jazz club” environment. Well done!

What’s next? Pensacola JazzFest! Get ready friends … get your blankets, lawn chairs, cameras, sun screen, smiles and ears! Check out the lineup …both days are guaranteed to bring the best of jazz from the region. It will be another event that you do not want to miss.

See you at JazzFest!!!

Fred Domulot
Jazz Pensacola

Drum Roll, Please: Jazz, keeping it alive

Every year, Jazz Pensacola sponsors a Student Jazz Competition, and every year we go through the moves to make it a great success — not only for Jazz Pensacola, but also for the young musicians who are truly reaching the goal of playing jazz in front of an audience.

They are playing themselves. Yes, they are playing standards, but for at least two choruses, they get to shine. They tell us who they are by their note selection … how they feel at that very moment. They are expressing themselves to us in a way that may not ever happen again.

It is priceless, it is history, it is honest. It is jazz!

This is why we do this.


Fred Domulot

President, Jazz Pensacola

Click here to learn more about the upcoming Student Jazz Competition.

Student Jazz Competition winner Jackson Willis performs at a Jazz Pensacola Jazz Gumbo event at Seville Quarter. Since winning the competition, Willis has gone on to become one of the most requested jazz trombonists in the area.

Winners of 2018 Student Jazz Competition announced

A scene from the 2018 Student Jazz Competition.

The live finals of the Eighth Annual Student Jazz Competition took place Thursday, March 15, at Pensacola State College’s Ashmore Fine Arts Auditorium. Audience members were treated to some fine jazz performances by talented finalists accompanied by the Guffman Trio, consisting of Cynthia Domulot on piano, Fred Domulot on drums and Tom Latenser on bass.

The student performers were all winners. Final placements are as follows:

High School Instrumental Division

1. Andrew Tinch – Guitar – A. Crawford Mosley High School
2. Noah Hall – Alto Sax – Booker T. Washington High School
3. Andrew Connor – Trumpet – Booker T. Washington High School
3. Aundre’ Connor – Bass – Booker T. Washington High School
3. Ty Kannegieter – Tenor Sax – Bayside Academy
Note: 3-way tie for third place

Jazz Vocal Division

1. Anastasia Leech – University of West Florida
2. Isabelle Peterson – University of West Florida

College Instrumental Division

1. Troy Harris – Piano – Pensacola State College
2. Jensen Cadenhead – Vibraphone – Northwest Florida State College
3. Mathew Hall – Guitar – Northwest Florida State College

Winners will receive monetary awards, ranging from $100 to $500 to be used to further their jazz/music education.

We thank finals judges Rebecca Barry, Tim Jackson and Bobby van Deusen, all renowned jazz performers and educators, for their role in making some tough choices.

Congratulations to all the competition winners – they speak well for the future of jazz.

Also, a big “Thank You” goes to the following Jazz Education Team Supporters (JETS) for their financial assistance, making the event possible:

  • Avalex Technologies
  • Bob Byrnes
  • John and Myrl Eisinger
  • Paul and Marliese Herrick
  • Horizen Restaurant/Alice Chiang
  • Dave Jenson
  • Dave and Lyndi Kessler
  • Ralph Knowles
  • Tom and Kathy Lyon
  • Knox and Holly Parker
  • Arnold Seligman
  • Tom and Mary Sylte
  • Studer Foundation
  • Carolyn Tokson and Jeff Elliot
  • Dr. F. Norman and Betty Vickers
  • Roger and Kat Villines

Witness the future stars of jazz at Student Competition

Student Jazz Competition winner Jackson Willis performs at a Jazz Pensacola Jazz Gumbo event at Seville Quarter. Since winning the competition, Willis has gone on to become one of the most requested jazz trombonists in the area.

Student jazz musicians from around the area are gathering for Jazz Pensacola’s annual Student Jazz Competition, the live finals of which will be 7 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Ashmore Fine Arts Auditorium, Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd.

The event is free and open to the public. Come and get an early glimpse at the jazz stars of tomorrow.

Previous competition winner Jackson Willis, for example, has gone on to become one of the most called-upon jazz trombonists in the Gulf Coast area, playing in a wide variety of different settings and ensembles.

“I received my bachelor’s in trombone performance from UWF in 2015 and am currently weighing my options for continued education,” Jackson says. “Speaking of education, I have a studio of 10-15 different private trombone students ranging from beginners to experienced players. I’m committed to being the best player that I can be as well as passing down my knowledge to the upcoming generation.”

“We’re really proud that we’ve been able to put a spotlight on some of these talented, young musicians,” says Fred Domulot, Jazz Pensacola president. “Already we’ve seen them perform at professional gigs around town and at our own Jazz Pensacola events.”

Isabelle Peterson, a Student Competition winner, performs at JazzFest.

Competition winner Isabelle Peterson currently is studying voice at UWF and teaches beginner guitar and ukulele. “I’m on music staff at St. Paul Catholic for guitar and voice,” she says. “I recently was featured at one of Gino Rosaria’s Tuesday Jazz Nights at Seville and did a set of jazz standards, soul, and blues.”

Another winner, Clinton Hall, says he’s currently performing regularly, teaching private music lessons, and recording an original LP. “I’m also researching online degree programs to continue my collegiate education,” he says.

Divisions are: College Instrumental, High School Instrumental and Jazz Vocal, with competitors attending school (including homeschooling) in the greater Pensacola area — Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties and Baldwin County in Alabama. 

Ranging from $100 to $500, awards for first, second and third place in each division are earmarked for music education expenses.

The Student Jazz Competition is made possible by Jazz Pensacola’s JETSJazz Education Team Supporters — folks who have made a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more to help make Jazz Pensacola’s jazz education programs possible.

Since the launch of Jazz Pensacola’s student musician outreach, more than $16,000 in monetary support awards earned by the winners of the competitions went toward jazz camps, school tuition, purchase and repair of musical instruments, and lessons, helping these young musicians continue their development.

For 2018, Jazz Pensacola has set a goal of at least $5,000 in funding. Members of JETS are recognized with special thanks on jazzpensacola.com and in the program for the 2018 Student Jazz Competition.

JETS and/or general fund donations can be made online at jazzpensacola.com. Payment by check can be made at Jazz Pensacola offices (make the check payable to Jazz Pensacola) at 3 West Garden St., Suite 418. Payment by credit card can be made by phoning the office at (850) 433-8382 during office hours, 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. Donations to Jazz Pensacola are considered tax-deductible contributions. Any amount will be greatly appreciated.

For more information, click here.

Clinton Hall performs at the Student Jazz Competition.

Students, download your application for 2017 Jazz Competition

Student Jazz Competition
Student Jazz Competition

Plans for the 2017 Student Jazz Competition have begun, and applications will be accepted through Feb. 17, 2017. This will be the seventh year for the competition – showcasing the region’s talented student jazz performers and contributing much needed financial support.

To download a flyer with more information on the competition, click here (PDF, 250K).

To download the application form, click here (PDF, 350K).

For more information on the competition, see our 2017 Student Jazz Competition page.