The 2014 All-State Jazz Ensemble.

The 2014 All-State Jazz Ensemble.

We are delighted to report that a record number of students from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory Department (CCM Prep) will be featured in Ohio’s 2014 All-State Jazz Ensemble. Of the 20 musicians chosen from throughout the state to participate in this ensemble, six study at CCM Prep. All members of CCM’s Cincinnati Youth Jazz Orchestra, the six are:

  • Sam Beiting (lead alto saxophone),
  • Kevin Everson (drums),
  • Ryan Guard (trombone),
  • Andrew Haug (piano),
  • Drake Samuels (trumpet) and
  • Christopher Thompson-Taylor (lead tenor saxophone).

The All-State Jazz Ensemble consists of the 20 top high school jazz musicians in Ohio, all chosen after proving their abilities in a highly competitive statewide audition held last May.

With music prepared ahead of time, the students recently met for three days of intense rehearsals that culminated in a standing-room-only performance at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Columbus on February 8. The students had the great privilege of working with their conductor, the acclaimed jazz composer and arranger, Alan Baylock, who led them in a program of his original music as well as jazz standards.

The occasion was the annual professional development conference of the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA). The All-State Jazz Ensemble is the smallest of four all-state high school ensembles featured at the yearly conference. With only one Ohio player selected for each part, the jazz ensemble is arguably the most competitive of the all-state ensembles, which also include a large choir, orchestra, and concert band.

Training nearly one-third of Ohio’s top high school jazz musicians is an honor for the up-and-coming jazz program at CCM Prep. The brainchild of CCM’s Director of Jazz Studies Scott Belck, the Cincinnati Youth Jazz Orchestra was created three years ago to provide a challenging big band experience for talented Tri-State area students. Currently under the direction of professional saxophonist and educator Bill Burns, the Cincinnati Youth Jazz Orchestra has quickly grown to be the premiere all-star jazz ensemble program for high school students in the region.

The six All-State jazz musicians, with their Cincinnati Youth Jazz Orchestra colleagues, will be appearing next at the Beavercreek Weekend of Jazz Festival at 9:40 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. on Saturday, March 8, at Beavercreek High School near Dayton. This performance is free and open to the general public. Learn more about the festival here.

About CCM Prep
CCM’s Preparatory Department offers classes, lessons and performing opportunities for students of all ages and abilities in music, theater and dance. Over 2,000 students participate in programs, classes and summer arts camps.

For more information or to request a brochure, please call 513-556-2595 or visit

Story submitted by Martha Thompson-Taylor

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