2022 Drum & Guitar Competition at Cactus Jacks

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Article from Ahwatukee Foothills Newspaper

An Interview with Competition Facilitator, Office Manager Jessica Magee.

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Tell us about this Competition

This is the 4th year we have held the drum competition. It started as an idea from one of our instructors, Mr. David, as a chance to honor and give the drummers their own special day. As our student body has expanded, we've had more and more drum students involved each year.

How long does it take to plan a competition?

Preparing for the competition takes upwards of a month and a half or two. We want to allow time for all students to prepare a song and feel comfortable performing it for a live audience and panel of judges. We make sure all the songs are edited to the allowed time frame and get the awards ready to go for the day of. Creating the flyers, registration and promotion included. It's a process but one well worth it!

This year you moved the competition to Cactus Jacks, tell us about that decision.

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We quickly realized that we were outgrowing the space. Because we like to have this competition open to families and friends to experience, we wanted to find a bigger space where the energy can really be felt and fill the room. Cactus Jacks is a local venue that not only has a great layout and stage setup (including lights and a greenroom), they have an excellent sound engineer and can provide food and drinks. This is a place where real musicians host shows, and we wanted to give the experience of playing on a stage like that to the students. It felt like the perfect option and luckily the space was available!

Who did you choose to judge this competition?

For the judging panel, we look for a variety of musicians that have extensive experience in the field, and that will provide great feedback to our students. This year the panel consisted of a current faculty member (Sean Busch), a previous faculty member (Austen Mack), and an outside musician (Frank Gonzales) that is not affiliated with the school in any way. These guys all have played for many years in various bands around the valley and are also educators, so it was a stellar panel.

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Panel of Judges:  Austen Mack, Frank Gonzales, & Sean Busch

What is your favorite part about these events?

My favorite part of the competition is hearing each student's growth from their previous performances at the studio, whether it be at recitals or past competitions. To provide a positive musical experience for them is a gift.  I love the comradery amongst the students, how they get to hear what other students at the school are up to and make connections with one another. The energy in the room and positivity was palpable throughout the afternoon and it's just a pleasure to be able to be a part of it all. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such a wonderful musical community at MMW.

Here are some Pictures of the real Rock Stars:

Final Results

Drums Division 1:
1. Henry Garvy
2. Luke Nigro
3. Riley Chun
Drums Division 2:
1. Eden Hartsfield
2. Abby Hughes
3. Richard Doyle
Guitar/Bass Division:
1. (Tied) Braden Mccarron & Titus Domey
2. Ian Mayercek
3. Rawley Smith
Piano Division 1:
1. Kevin Hu
2. Maya Sunder
3. Henley Wolfard
Piano Division 2:
1. Anthony Christoforides
2. Ananya Bipin
3. Andrea Leong