For more information, contact CT Young Writers Trust Chairman Ravi Shankar,
PAUL DOYLE has been a sports reporter and columnist at The Hartford Courant since 1989. He has covered high school, college and professional sports in Connecticut and all over the country, writing about everything from boxing to badminton.
A member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, he spent seven years as The Courant's Boston-based baseball beat reporter before becoming a general assignment reporter and feature writer. A native of Lynn, Massachusetts, he has also written for the Boston Globe and The Sporting News.
Doyle's sportswriting workshop for the Young Writers Trust in 2010 drew an enthusiastic crowd at The Hartford Club. He has been a judge for the competition for several years.
IYABA IBO MANDINGO -- poet, painter, writer, and playwright -- is a native of Antigua, West Indies who came to the United States in 1980 as a young boy. His earliest exposures to the arts were through his mother, a professional singer, and his grandparents, a tailor and a seamstress who first introduced him to colors and patterns, paving a path to the many ways of expression: drawing, painting, sculpting, writing and performing. Iyaba studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University and today teaches in and around the tri-state area as a Master Teaching Artist.
Iyaba is a two-time Connecticut Grand Slam champion and in 2011 won Yale University’s Martin Luther King Birthday Invitational Slam, his fourth such win. He appears regularly as a performance poet in venues across the United States and abroad, including Nuyorican Poetry Café, Brooklyn Moon, and Next Door Café among others in the NY area and was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival. He was recently seen at 59E59 in Deb Margolin’s The Expenses of Rain (Laura Barnett, director). He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, 41 Times, Amerikkan Exile and his latest, 40 days &40 nites of write. His new novel, Sins of My Fathers, will be released in 2012. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Summer, 2011 Artist in Residence.
Iyaba was awarded a national Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, as well as grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and multiple commendations from the Nassau County African American Museum. His artwork has been included in over a dozen group and individual shows in the tri-state area.
His play unFRAMED is winner of the 2011 Excellence in Theatre Award from the DC Black Theatre Festival and has been presented all over the East Coast, including at the 2011 Art of Justice Series at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater in NYC, the All for One Theatre Festival at Theatre 80, NYC, the Railroad Playhouse in Newburgh, the Puffin Cultural Forum, as a Spotlight show at the DC Black Theatre Festival; at colleges and universities (York College, NY, Nichols College, MA, University of Baltimore, MD, Rider College, NJ); and the Hudson Valley Writers Center.
Pre-workshop music blast for Jumoke Event
THE JEN ALLEN JAZZ COMBO
Jen Allen, keyboard
Frank Kozyra, tenor saxophone
Lummie Spann Jr., alto saxophone
Josh Evans, trumpet
Matt Dwonszyk, bass
Ben Bilello, drums
Keith Gibson, guitar
Vocalists Featuring DominiQue
JEN ALLEN CD NOTES:
Pieces of Myself is a collection of original compositions of Allen's from over the past couple of years. Her compositions represent different pieces of her life as a musician, mother, wife, daughter and friend. Allen brought together the skilled Dave Baron on bass and Lee Fish on drums to make the rhythm section swing and yet at the same time flow amongst the ever changing feels and time signatures of the compositions. To add to this foundation, Allen brings accomplished musicians, Josh Evans on trumpet, Kris Allen on alto and Andrew Renfroe on guitar.
-- About Jen Allen:
Allen has performed alongside many jazz greats including Nat Reeves, Steve Davis, Dezron Douglas, Charles Flores and Kris Allen. She has performed world wide with many groups including Kendrick Oliver’s New Life Orchestra, the collaborative New Unity Quartet and other jazz and creative music ensembles.
Allen has taught at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Hartt School, University of Connecticut Community School of the Arts Jazz Camp and Trinity College.
Originally from Foxboro, Ma, Allen was a cellist who started playing jazz piano as a favor to her high school band director, little knowing that she was finding her true artistic voice. From there she pursued her Bachelors in Music performance at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz. Allen has been privileged to be able to study under Jackie McLean, Steve Davis, Andy LaVerne and Garry Dial.
Lummie L Spann Jr.
Alto and soprano saxophonist Composer / Educator
Since birth, alto saxophonist Lummie Spann has been fascinated with the art of music. Over the years of his musical study, through the saxophone, he has taken his interest and transformed it into a creative style of electrifying passion and power.
Born on February 1, 1979 in Hartford, Ct, to two musically inclined parents, a mother who sang in one of the choirs at their church, the Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in Hartford, a father who was a DJ in the local party scenes in Hartford and New York in the 70’s and 80’s.
From the very beginning, Lummie found himself engulfed in multiple facets of music. From artists such as, Rev. James Clevland and Mahalia Jackson, to Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky, to Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, to James Brown and Michael Jackson, he was open and appreciative of all styles.
At the age of ten, Lummie, studied saxophone at the Artist's Collective, a community based performing arts school in Hartford, founded by master jazz musician, Jackie McLean. In high school he enrolled at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, where he studied with bassist Dave Santoro. Dave was one of Lummie’s favorite teachers because studying with him was the most challenging.
But the most encouraging teacher was always his mentor, Jackie McLean, who also encouraged his talents as a composer in addition to his performance. In 2001, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, at University of Hartford, where he taught later on.
In 2006, based on his composition and performance level, he was selected among an international pool of musicians to the Betty Carter Jazz Residency Program at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Lummie has developed into a soulful and fiery saxophonist who has an original style and sound. His musical endeavors have led him to performing for important figures such as Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Jesse Jackson, Merly Evers and Ray Charles. He currently performs locally, nationally and internationally and has performed with Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Rene McLean, Winard Harper, Eric McPherson, Billy Johnson, Steve Davis, Jimmy Greene, Warren Byrd, Abraham Burton, Dezron Douglas, Marc Cary, James Burton, Zaccai and Luques Curtis, and Donvonte McCoy.
Hartford, CT born saxophonist Frank Kozyra began studying saxophone at the age of 10.
He continued his study of music through high school at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Performing Arts, under the direction of Dave Santoro. By his senior year Frank decided to pursue music as a career by attending New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. There he honed his craft under the guidance of Jerry Bergonzi, Allan Chase, John Mosca, George Russell and others.
After three years of conservatory life, Frank decided for the first (but not last) time to change career paths, attending the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, where he graduated from the Professional Chef Program. A few years later, having enjoyed the life of a chef, Frank changed directions again, this time as a music teacher, both privately and at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.
While working with young musicians was rewarding, Frank changed gears several more times until, in 2006, he found his true calling as a musical instrument repair technician. Upon completion of the repair program at Renton Technical College in Seattle, WA, Frank went to work in West Hartford, CT at the Horn Shop under the tutelage of Tom Griswold.
A few years later it was off to NYC where Frank worked at the prestigious Roberto's Winds in Times Square, before eventually migrating back to CT and the Horn Shop where he currently works as a brass and woodwind repair technician. During the many twists and turns that his career has taken, Frank has always pursued the saxophone with passion, and can currently be heard performing as both leader and sideman throughout the Northeast.
Josh Evans, born and raised in Wethersfield, CT, was drawn to the trumpet after hearing a Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie recording at the age of 10.
Josh began studying with Raymond “Dr. Rackle” Williams and within a year he would be performing regularly with “Dr. Rackle’s Sound Griot Brass Band.” By age13 his musical career would begin to take shape when he began to study with and be mentored by the celebrated alto saxohonist/ composer and educator Jackie McLean.
Studying under McLean -- who shared the bandstand with Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Art Blakey -- would be pivotal in Josh's career. The experience would blaze the path for performances with Jackie McLean which included the Blue Note, Iridium, Regattabar, and the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts.
In April 2005, Josh began a three and a half year stint with the Winard Harper Sextet, touring the United States performing and conducting master classes. The group personnel at different points consisted of Billy Taylor, Frank Wess and George Cables, as well as trumpet players Terrell Stafford, Claudio Roditi and Phillip Harper. The group would also record a wonderful album for Piadrum Records.
In April 2007, Josh was invited to perform a two-week tour of Siberia with master saxophonist, and composer Benny Golson. It was during this time period that Evans would also start performing with master Drummer Rashied Ali and would become the band’s trumpet player for the next two years. The Rashied Ali Quintet toured 18 different countries and recorded one CD “Live in Europe.” Josh Evans would play with Rashied Ali until the drummer’s untimely death in 2009.
Evans excelled as a sideman with such notables as Cedar Walton, Benny Golson, Ralph Peterson, Rene McLean, Steve Davis, Winard Harper, Shelia Davis, and Rashied Ali.
Matt Dwonszyk, bass-- Matt Dwonszyk is an upcoming acoustic bass player in the Hartford area. Starting on the electric bass at age 11, Matt grew up playing numerous types of music stemming from rock and roll.
When he entered high school he was fortunate to attend the Academy of Performing Arts in Hartford where he began studying jazz with teachers such as Jimmy Greene, Kris Allen, Paul Brown, and Doug Maher. Through friends at the Academy, Matt started attending the Artist Collective and playing in the Youth Jazz Orchestra Band. He soon started performing around the Hartford area and was fortunate to perform in Russia through the Academy of the Arts.
His senior year, Matt started performing with Ed Fast’s Conga Bop where he was exposed to Latin music. He continues to perform with Ed Fast and is now attending the Hartt School of Music where he is studying with Professor Nat Reeves and Professor Steve Davis.
Ben Bilello, Drums
Originally from Narragansett, Rhode Island, Ben began playing the snare drum in the fifth grade school band. As time passed, Ben became interested in learning the drum set. It was not until age fourteen that he received his first drum set. Ben spent hour upon hour in his basement, learning Led Zeppelin songs. One day, Ben’s sister left the album “When Harry Met Sally,” by Harry Connick, Jr., on the kitchen table. He listened to a song called “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” and was immediately drawn to jazz music. After graduating from Narragansett High School in 1995, Ben moved to West Hartford, Connecticut to begin college.
In the autumn of 1995, Ben entered The Hartt School of Music as an eager freshman, majoring in jazz studies. The jazz students were under the watchful eye of master saxophonist Jackie McLean. Hartt afforded Ben numerous opportunities in the areas of performance and study. While at Hartt, Ben studied drums and percussion with Ben Toth, Tony Leone, and Michael Carvin. He also studied frame drum and riq with master drummer Glen Velez. During his time at Hartt, Ben was frequently called upon to perform with students, faculty members, and guest artists. In 1997, Ben won the Hartt Award of Excellence in Jazz Studies, presented by Professor McLean. Ben graduated cum laude from Hartt in the spring of 1999 with a BM in Jazz Studies.
Since graduation, Ben has forged a career as a noted performer and as a much sought after private instructor. He has performed and recorded with many of the biggest names in the field of jazz; Mulgrew Miller, Eddie Henderson, Joe Wilder, Branford Marsalis, Anthony Braxton, Charles Flores, Steve Davis, Eddie Bert, Nat Reeves, Doug Wamble, Aaron Goldberg, Greg Tardy, Phil Bowler, Jimmy Greene, Shelton “Fatman” Laster, and Wayne Escoffery, among many others. In addition to performing with noted jazz musicians, Ben has toured with the South American folk groups Viva Quetzal and Markamusic.
Since his senior year of college, Ben has maintained a full roster of private students. From 1998 to 2000, Ben was on faculty at the Artists Collective, a non-profit arts school in Hartford’s north end. From 1999 to early 2004, Ben was on staff at Riccardo’s Music Center, teaching in both their East and West Hartford, Connecticut locations. Currently residing in Durham, Connecticut, Ben is a self-employed private instructor and clinician. He maintains a schedule of twenty to twenty-five students that study with him on a weekly basis. Ben has taught classes and workshops at many local public and private schools as well as at many local colleges and universities. As of July 2004, Ben is a member of the percussion/jazz faculty at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Connecticut’s top performing arts magnet high school.
As one of the most in demand freelance jazz drummers in New England, Ben can be seen at numerous clubs, concert halls and festivals with a wide variety of artists. At this time, Ben can be seen performing with his own trio, the Josh Evans Quartet, the Bill Lowe/Andy Jaffe Big Band, the Rich Goldstein Quartet, and vocalist Charmaine Clamor, as well as many others.
Guitarist Keith Gibson is 1997 graduate of the Hartt School of Music with a degree in Jazz Studies.
He studied under jazz legend Jackie McLean in an intensive conservatory program.
Keith has been teaching privately since graduation. He has extensive performance experience in a variety of styles.
For more information, see Keith's MySpace page.
DominiQue "Ms. Q" Padilla is an independent R&B / Soul vocalist from Connecticut who's made a name for herself as the DominiQue with the capital Q.
She is a graduate of Litchfield High School and studied at the Hartford Conservatory, majoring in music production / engineering & voice. DominiQue writes her own music and performs all over the state at public and private events including clubs, parties, competitions and sporting events. She performed at year's W.O.W. seminar as a positive role model for the high school girls.
DominiQue is pursuing a career in entertainment and also has plans to start her own production company. She continues working toward a bachelor's of science in music business.
Cassie Martin studied vocal performance at The Hartford Conservatory. She has studied musical theater, classical, and jazz music.
She currently sang with vocal ensemble at the conservatory as well as a madrigal group. Cassie has also been in music theater productions such as The Producers and Oklahoma!- as well as theater including Graceland and Top Girls.
- Rachel Elizabeth Perlin is a Musical Theater graduate of the Hartford Conservatory.
She has been a performer since the tender age of 5 and it has been her passion ever since. Rachel has been in many theater productions including West Side Story, The Boys from Syracuse, Annie, Nunsense, Fiddler on the Roof and The Apple Tree. Since graduating from the Conservatory last year, Rachel has appeared in a production of Urinetown. While patiently waiting for her next audition, Rachel enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and is a sales associate at Pier 1 Imports (and enjoys every second of her job)!
SPRING 2012 THEME SONG:
Baby, come back to support young writers. We need you now more than ever.
The Connecticut Young Writers Trust – the state’s longest-running literary competition for teens, now in its 15th year – announces an extraordinary program for Spring 2012.
The Trust will host FREE workshops for young poets and writers and their teachers from around the state on Saturday, March 10 at the renowned Jumoke Academy in Hartford. Continuing education units will be granted for teachers.
In addition, The Trust will host a workshop for students at Rockville High School on March 13. The presenter is Irish poet and novelist Geraldine Mills.
On Friday, April 13, Connecticut’s arguably finest duo of poet Marilyn Nelson and novelist Wally Lamb will perform -- at The Hartford Club at 7 p.m. -- in a fundraising event. Suggested donation: $10 or more.
The Trust will climax the current cycle with its annual celebration June 2 as part of Connecticut Young Poets Day at Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington. Connecticut Young Poets Day, a new feature of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, will take place during the festival's 20th anniversary inaugural weekend.