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Loyalsock Township sophomore wins major award

PHOTO PROVIDED Gabriel Severn, a Loyalsock Township High School sophomore, has been named the 2021 DownBeat High School Honors Jazz Soloist Winner.

Bassist Gabriel Severn, a Loyalsock Township High School sophomore, has been named the 2021 DownBeat High School Honors Jazz Soloist Winner. Severn has previously received DownBeat awards for performance, improvisation and composition.

According to a news release, these international awards are considered the most prestigious in jazz education and the educational equivalent to the Grammys. Severn is the only high school student in Pennsylvania to win a 2021 award, and is the first Loyalsock Township student to win these awards in the history of the district.

DownBeat, the premier magazine for jazz and blues enthusiasts and professionals around the world, recognizes outstanding young artists with their annual Student Music Awards. Hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition with these awards. Established in 1976, the esteemed international competition is for middle school, high school, and college students to showcase their talent and be recognized for their musical skills. Winners are selected from thousands of entries from around the world, and judging criteria is based on musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement and authority.

Severn, who began playing and performing on the electric bass at age seven, has received Jazz Education Network awards in addition to his DownBeat awards, the news release said. He most recently was recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation as a 2021 Award winner in the Jazz category. YoungArts identifies the nation’s most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and finalists are eligible for nomination in their senior year to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Award winners receive exclusive creative, financial, and professional development support, as well as opportunities in collaboration with major venues nationwide. The award winners join a distinguished alumni group including Josh Groban and Terence Blanchard.

Severn’s jazz fusion trio, Teen Town, will release its debut album this summer and tour the Midwest in June, the news release said. Teen Town received a 2019 DownBeat award for “Outstanding Performance” and has been nominated twice for the “Best Jazz Artist” award by the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall of Fame. Severn was also honored to be selected as one of five finalists in the Bass Player Magazine’s “2020 Bassist of the Year” competition. He is currently working on his solo music which will be released later this year. For more information, visit: www.gabrielsevern.com

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