Debutants St Mary High School won the Jamaica Best School Band (JBSB) competition last Sunday after topping three rivals in the final at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
The 13-piece band accumulated 92 points to finish ahead of Belair High School (84 points), Papine High School (83.5 points), and fellow newcomers Lennon High School (64 points).
They impressed judges Stephen Stewart, Gregory Palmer, Jean Andre Lawrence, and Cherine Anderson most in the areas of playing and preparedness, originality, interaction with audience, and quality of performance.
St Mary High School's victory was sealed with renditions of Sister Nancy's Bam Bam, Bill Withers' Just The Two of Us, and Likes, originally done by Chronixx.
Krishauna Whittaker-Hurlock, the Highgate-based school's music teacher, said the band entered Jamaica Cultural Development Commission competitions prior to the JBSB in order to gain exposure and improve their skills.
She told the Jamaica Observer that the victory is significant for the school's music programme and general enrolment.
"It means a lot, because it exposes us to opportunities that are out there for the students, and will encourage others to cone to St Mary High," she said.
They received $300,000 from the Vinyl Record Collectors Association, an alto saxophone from The Music Mart, and one-year membership with the Jamaica Federation of Musicians.
Belair High School received $200,000 from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sport and Education (CHASE) Fund, which also awarded Papine High School $150,000.
Rayven Armani, founder and chief organiser of the JBSB, spoke to the Jamaica Observer about the competition's 10th season which started one month ago with eight schools competing.
"The 10th season was gratifying. For schools who have entered before you could see their growth, and for the first-time entrants you could see them improving through the rounds. The highlights were the way the judges delivered their feedback and remarks, very helpful for performers individually and as a whole, the series also saw a number of stellar performances," she said.