LA’s Five O’Clock Jazz Combo at Midcoast Conservancy’s Champagne on the Sheepscot event on Saturday September 7. Combo musicians for the 2019-20 school year include (from left) senior Jojo Martin on keyboard, senior Jarrett Gulden on tenor sax, senior Benji Pugh on trumpet, senior Braxton Farrin on alto sax, junior Riley Stevenson on drums, junior Scott Petersen on guitar, and senior Lucas Steinberger on bass.

The Lincoln Academy Five O’clock Jazz Combo is made up of LA’s most experienced student jazz musicians. The group hires out every year for community events and private parties, which both offers students professional gigging experience and earns income for the LA band program’s biennial trip to New York City.

The Five O’Clock Combo most recently performed during the Midcoast Conservancy’s annual “Champagne on the Sheepscot” event on September 7 for several hundred guests who were there to support the land trust’s conservation efforts. “I was incredibly proud of the students,” said LA band director Liz Matta. “We had only one rehearsal this school year prior to the gig, and the kids played really really well.”

The jazz group is currently seeking more gigs, and hoping to give a boost to fundraising efforts for their April 2020 NYC trip, where they will perform alongside the LA Wind Ensemble as part of the WorldStrides Heritage Festival. Both groups will perform in the Historic Riverside Church in Harlem. According to Matta, each festival is adjudicated by three well-known musicians including Carl Strommen, an award-winning educator and composer. “The LA Wind Ensemble plays at least one Strommen piece every year,” said Matta. “He is a wonderful composer for both band and jazz band. It is thrilling for students to get to hear Mr. Strommen give us feedback on how we play music that he composed.”

In addition to the performance and feedback from the edjudictors, in New York LA band students will attend a New York Philharmonic Orchestra performance, enjoy a dinner jazz concert at Birdland, and take in a Broadway musical. They will also do some sight-seeing at the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and Times Square. “The New York trip is an important educational component of LA’s music program,” said Matta. “Students put on their best performance for an important audience, and experience the City’s iconic sights with their peers. We want to make this trip affordable for every student, which is why this fundraising is so important.”

To hire the Five O’Clock Jazz Combo contact Liz Matta at matta@lincolnacademy.org or 207-563-3596 ext. 181.