Liverpool: Jazzing it up

Liverpool may soon be home to a famous jazz quartet.

Four students at Liverpool High School, under the direction of band director James Spadafore, will be competing for a chance to play at the Monterey Jazzfest in California on March 24. If they're chosen, the boys will play at the nationally renowned festival in September.

"I was just scanning the competitions for the kids to do," Spadafore said. "I was looking for something different."

"It's a great opportunity," said Michael Cunningham, director of fine arts for the Liverpool Central School District. "The Monterey Jazzfest is known nationwide."

Spadafore learned of the opportunity to compete for a slot at the jazzfest and jumped at the chance. The jazz quartet, made up of saxophone David Carpenter, drummer Mike Lamardo, organist Collin DeJoseph and trumpet Dan Salem, made a recording in the Rome home of Rick Montalbano, a friend of Spadafore's. They sent in the recording and were surprised to learn that they had been selected for the chance to compete.

"I didn't think we'd get in," Spadafore said. "I just thought it would be a good experience for the kids to be in the studio."

Perhaps the group shouldn't be so surprised about their admission to the selective competition. The boys have a wealth of experience, having played their instruments six years or longer.

Once a trio, the group once consisted of DeJoseph, LaMardo and Ryan Dann. Carpenter and Salem were asked to join for a performance at Jazz in the Square in Syracuse, making the group a quintet. When Dann, last year's valedictorian, left for college, the group became a foursome.

"We didn't expect to make it," DeJoseph said, echoing his teacher's sentiments.

"We just thought it would be a good idea to get experience in the studio, whether or not we made it," Salem agreed.

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