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Cool Schools: Students Of All Ages In National Trumpet Competition

5:55 AM, Mar 29, 2012   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) -- Students from elementary school to college are making cool music as part of a national trumpet competition at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. They are getting tips from some world famous jazz and big band greats, including one you are sure to recognize.

Three times a day, seven days a week, Forrest Johnston fills the air with music. He practices like it's his job.

The 11-year-old from Vienna, Virginia is the youngest competitor in the 20th Annual National Trumpet Competition at George Mason University, which is pretty special to him.

Forrest Johnston, who attends Colvin Run Elementary, shared, "This is one of the very few times I get to perform in, like, competitions and to get to see all of these great players performing."

Long-time Tonight Show band leader Doc Severinsen is one of many professionals willing to teach and inspire during this year's competition.

Doc Severinsen said, "Give me the kid that's enthusiastic. He will practice because he wants to."

To get in, players from across the country submitted YouTube videos as their first round performance. Then it's live with a piano player in front of a panel of judges.

Pianist Gail Novak told us, "The talent here is amazing and it's nice to be able to give them a little feedback." 

At stake thousands of dollars prize money, or an all expenses paid course at the prestigious Interlockin Music Academy. But that's not the real value, says event creator Dr. Denny Edelbrock.

Dr. Edelbrock,  who is a music professor at George Washington University, explained, "They hear each other and it's more important for them to hear other students in their own age group than for me or any other teacher to tell them, cause then they get it."

So do their parents. Rich Johnston is Forrest's father. He was his son's only trumpet teacher until now. Rich Johnston says the national trumpet competition taught Forrest to aim High.

"It's easy for a 6, 7, 8 year old kid to say, I'm only 8, I can't do it, but when you see kids here doing it, you know it's possible," said Johnston.

Forrest Johnston can now say he's one of the best in the country after winning the junior division. All of that practice proved to be worth it.

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If you have a Cool School, send me an email: mhydeck@wusa9.com.

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