Seaforth is best of the bands!

St Thomas school takes fifth JBSB title

Observer writer

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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EVEN before they were announced winners of the Jamaica Best School Band (JBSB) competition last Sunday, celebrations for Seaforth High School erupted inside Vera Moody Concert Hall at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew.

The St Thomasschool (which did compete under a moniker) was unstoppable during the grand finalwith superb stage craft and an energetic performance led by singer Sajay Smith. It was nosurprise when the band was declaredchampions, amassing50 points,with Smith named BestLeadVocalist.

SeaforthHighwaspresentedwiththeJBSB Champion Trophy and$200,000in cashcourtesyofthe CHASE (Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, Education) Fund. Includedinthe winners’package are instruments from sponsors MusicMart,and a recordingsession at GraftonRecordingStudio in east Kingston.

Runner-up was BelmontAcademy,whose bandgoesbythename RhythmExpress. Theyreceived atrophyaswellas$150,000 from CHASE; in thirdwasYork Castle HighSchool, known as Rapture, whichreceived $100,000fromCHASE.

“I’m overwhelmed, it feels amazing, makes me feel wonderful to know that out of so many vocalists, I am the top vocalist, it’s a great feeling” an elated Sajay Smith told the Jamaica Observer.Theeleventhgradestudent,who created a stir performing Chaka Demus and Pliers’ Murder She Wrote, planstopursue a music career.

Bridgette WilliamsfromBelmontAcademy,whocoppedtheawardfor BestFemaleVocalist,wasatalossforwords when the Observer caught up with her. “It’sagreat feeling, it’s reallya greatfeeling,” she said.

ChadaneDaley,leaderofYork Castle, said:“This is our first time in the competition and I am really excited about the fact that we gained the third place. Going forward we will do more practice and we hope to come back next year and gain the first place. I knowthat will happenif we try hard enough.”

The competition’s conceptualiser/organiser, Rayven Amani, isconfident her ‘baby’ will continue to grow in its sixth year. “I am just amazed about the level of improvement over the rounds for these bands…the amountof work that they put in, the enthusiasm, the passion, (is) amazing,” shegushed. As for her expectations for next year, she said, “Bigger, better. Itcanonlygrow.

Veteran bass player Lloyd Parks, one of the judges for JBSB, was also impressed.

“Overall, itwas a greatcompetition.Some of the bands in the semi and quarter-finals performed better than today. Theirlastperformance was way above this one.That is whyImentioned that you don’t come to play, you come to win. Ineverysection,whenitcomestointeraction,preparedness,creativeness,itwasSeaforth High,”he said.

Guest judge, singer Pam Hall, agreed: “It wasabsolutely beautiful. I wasn’t at any of the other rounds, so I was very happy I was asked to be a judge in the finals. And thesignsaregood, very good for the future," she said.

Casey Donaldson, lead singer of 2017 winners Bog Walk High School, told the Jamaica Observer, that it was back to the drawing board for his team.

“Thething aboutit, theexperience wasgreat,even thoughthetwopreviousroundsweweren’tthatgood becausewe gained a smallamountof points.Lastyearwewerethe winningband. Itwas good,weenjoyourselvesso muchon stage…Wegainedexperienceandwearecomingbacknextyearforthewinningbandtrophy again,”he said.

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