John Viavattine

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John Viavattine
Born (1955-03-21) March 21, 1955 (age 63)
Origin Rochester, New York, U.S.
Genres Jazz, pop
Occupation(s) Musician, teacher
Instruments Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute
Associated acts "Mambo Kings", "Unlimited"

John Viavattine (born March 21, 1955) is an American professional woodwind performer and instrumental music teacher in Rochester, New York at Spencerport High School.

Career[edit]

Music performer[edit]

Viavattine has performed with a variety of popular "Big name" musicians. He played on tour with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, including a memorable performance in Washington, D.C. at President Reagan's 1980 Inaugural Ball. He has also performed with Ray Charles, Patti Page, The Temptations, Chuck and Gap Mangione, Randy Brecker, Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Connie Francis, Vic Damone, Aretha Franklin and Lou Rawls.[citation needed]

He is a member of Rochester's hit Latin Band, "Mambo Kings", started by another local musician and composer, Richard Delaney. He is also a member of one of Rochester's premier party bands, "Unlimited", founded and directed by his brother Bob Viavattine.

John began playing when he was young, learning early on from his teacher, Joe Romano, to pay strict attention to time, keeping with the rhythm section, and complementing them.

On June 12, 2007, Viavattine and the Mambo Kings opened for the rock group "Los Lonely Boys" at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.[1]

Music teacher[edit]

After earning his bachelor's degree in music from Nazareth College, he moved to Los Angeles, California to teach for a short time before returning to Upstate New York to teach at Spencerport High School in Spencerport, New York. He is the director of the Spencerport Wind ensemble, and in conjunction with his colleague, Ben Osborne, the Spencerport Symphonic Band. In 2007 Viavattine received the prestigious RPO educator of the year award. Students say that it is his passion for music which encourages them. He acts as a role model by being active in the musical scene around Rochester outside of school.[citation needed]

High school jazz[edit]

He is probably most well known as director of the Spencerport High School "Jazz One" band. This group has been ranked one of the top high school bands in the country, ranking first place in heritage music festivals nationwide. In March 2007, Spencerport Jazz One took first place in the Berklee Jazz Festival. In April 2007, Jazz One took first place at the Heritage Festival in Orlando, FL, competing against more than twenty schools from across the nation. On April 18, 2007, Viavattine led the band to another first place at the MCC Jazz Festival.[2] In 2008, they won first place in a nationwide yamaha recording contest, judged in part by members of Tower of Power.

On June 2nd, 2017 the ensemble recorded their own album called "On Common Ground" which recorded select Jazz songs the ensemble had played, and also included 2 songs played by Spencerport's Vocal Jazz. The CD is well recorded and can be purchased for $10 at the high school.

A classic tradition, the Spencerport Jazz ensemble hosts their annual Evening of Jazz. This is held in the school's cafeteria, which is transformed into a classic jazz lounge. Each year, Viavattine invites special guest artists to play with the Jazz ensemble, and show off some of their songs. Some of these artists include Bill Evans, Steve Gadd, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Tom Bones Malone and Conrad Herwig. Each year when the artists are brought in, the students really get a great musical experience, and they could not have that without Viavattine.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Democrat and Chronicle : Jeff Spevak". Retrieved 2007-06-17.
  2. ^ "MCC's 38th Annual Jazz Festival Awards Honor Local High School Talent". Retrieved 2008-02-09.[dead link]

External links[edit]