CMU's Zenith Saxophone Quartet, under the direction of Professor John Nichol, has recently advanced to two separate national competitions. Students musicians are: Parker Fritz, soprano; Diego Kieliszewski, alto; Ben MacDonald, tenor and Taylor Huitema, baritone.
North American Saxophone Alliance Quartet Competition
Current CMU School of Music Students and Alums Compete in National Competition
CMU Saxophone Quartet, Zenith was selected to compete in the semi-final round of the North American Saxophone Alliance Saxophone (NASA) Quartet Competition. Zenith is comprised of current CMU School of Music students, Parker Fritz, Diego Kieliszewski, Benjamin MacDonald, and Taylor Huitema. This annual contest began with a field of 77 saxophone quartets from both the United States and Canada. Twenty quartets faced fierce competition at the NASA Biennial Conference held at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Only six quartets advanced to the final round. Although Zenith did not advance, CMU Alum, Jonathon Nichol's University of Oklahoma Elysian Saxophone Quartet won the competition. Elysian is comprised of CMU alums Jared Waters and Evan Harris.
NASA is comprised of professional musicians, university professors, public school teachers, music students and others who have an interest in the saxophone. The Alliance promotes the composition and performance of saxophone music.
Music Teacher's National Association's National Chamber Music Competition
Current CMU School of Music Students and Alums Compete in Second National Competition
In addition to its NASA honors, Zenith earned first place in the Music Teacher's National Association (MTNA) Division Chamber Music Competition. This five-state regional competition took place at the University of Illinois. Zenith then advanced to the MTNA National Chamber Music Competition held at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and won second place honors.
First place honors were awarded to University of Oklahoma's Elysian Saxophone Quartet, under the direction of CMU alum, Jonathon Nichol and featuring CMU alums, Jared Waters and Evan Harris.
Professor John Nichol joined CMU in 1980 as professor of saxophone. Under his direction students in Nichols' saxophone studio are known for their musicality, technical abilities, discipline and professionalism. Professor Nichol has himself performed at numerous international and national jazz festivals, several World Saxophone Congresses and has appeared with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Harry James Orchestra and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, to name just a few. Professor Nichol is an adjudicator for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and has taught saxophone at the Interlochen Center for the Arts Summer Camp.