St Thomas School – Seaforth High Takes Fifth JBSB Title
EVEN before they were announced the winners of the Jamaica Best School Band (JBSB) competition last Sunday, Seaforth High School were being celebrated inside Vera Moody Concert Hall at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew.
The St Thomas school (which did not compete under a moniker) was unstoppable during the grand final with superb stage craft and an energetic performance led by singer Sajay Smith. It was no surprise when the band was declared champions, amassing 50 points, with Smith named best lead vocalist.
Seaforth High was presented with the JBSB Champion Trophy and $200,000 in cash courtesy of the CHASE (Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, Education) Fund. Included in the winners’ package are instruments from sponsors Music Mart, and a recording session at Grafton Recording Studio in east Kingston.
The runner-up was Westmoreland-based Belmont Academy, whose band goes by the name Rhythm Express. They received a trophy as well as $150,000 from CHASE Fund; in third place was York Castle High School, known as Rapture, which received $100,000 from CHASE Fund.
“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. The 11th grade student, who created a stir performing Chaka Demus and Pliers’ Murder She Wrote, plans to pursue a music career.
Bridgette Williams from Belmont Academy, who copped the award for Best Female Vocalist, was at a loss for words when the Observer caught up with her. “It’s a great feeling, it’s really a great feeling,” she said.
Chadane Daley, leader of York 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 know that will happen if we try hard enough.”
The competition’s conceptualiser/organiser, Rayven Amani, is confident 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 amount of work that they put in, the enthusiasm, the passion, (is) amazing,” she gushed. As for her expectations for next year, she said, “Bigger, better. It can only grow.”
Veteran bass player Lloyd Parks, one of the judges for JBSB, was also impressed.
“Overall, it was a great competition. Some of the bands in the semi- and quarter-finals performed better than today. Their last performance was way above this one. That is why I mentioned that you don’t come to play, you come to win. In every section, when it comes to interaction, preparedness, creativeness, it was Seaforth High,” he said. “It was absolutely 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 the signs are good, very good for the future.”
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.
“The thing about it, the experience was great, even though the two previous rounds we weren’t that good because we gained a small amount of points. Last year we were the winning band. It was good, we enjoy ourselves so much on stage…We gained experience and we are coming back next year for the winning band trophy again,” he said.
Source: Jamaica Observer