the UMass vocal jazz banddirected by Catherine Jensen Hole, was among the winners of the annual Student Music Awards (SMA) sponsored by DownBeat Magazine, widely recognized as the best publication devoted to “jazz, blues and beyond”. Each year, DownBeat announces the Student Music Award winners in its June issue based on recordings submitted by jazz programs from across the country. Ensembles and individual students in the UMass Jazz and African American Music Studies program have received SMAs in virtually every category over the past thirty-five years.
This year, the Vocal Jazz Group won the award for Outstanding Performance by a Latin Band in the Undergraduate College category. Students who performed on recordings submitted to DownBeat included singers Nathan Fisette, Julia Ganley, Emma Hagan, Uma Kasichainula, Julia Lower, Logan O’Connell, Henry Pareto, Mae Whaley and Hannah White. Dylan Walter and Coleman Hovey played on the piano/keyboard, with Dillon Pinard to the battery. Last year, DownBeat honored the Vocal Jazz program with the Outstanding Performance by a Small Asynchronous Vocal Jazz Group Award (Undergraduate College Category).