Benedict’s Jazz Band Battles at Berklee


The Gray Bee Jazz Band competed in Boston’s Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival on February 8 earning its highest score in its five years of competing.

Benedict’s placed twelfth out of sixteen, missing sixth place by five points.

Because the festival was scheduled earlier than last year, the jazz band lost a month of preparation. But that wasn’t all bad.

“Honestly, it made [getting ready]  more difficult. Having gone to Berklee last year, I knew it was not going to be easy,” UDII Dominick Barbosa said. “However, having less time was better for the band in a sense; we took practice time more seriously, more wisely.”

This was Benedict’s fifth consecutive year at Berklee and the band earned an award for reaching that milestone.

UDII Jaheer Jones brought home the best soloist award for the second year in the row.

“It felt good.. a little bit closer to going to my dream school: Berklee,” Jaheer said.

The jazz band played the first three songs of Mary Lou Williams’ album “Zoning.” Those songs included “Syl-o-gism,” “Olinga” and “Medi II.” Each song was a funky jazzy mix that captured the early ‘70s. The band will perform these songs again March 27 at the interdisciplinary celebration of the 40th anniversary of the reopening of St. Benedict’s in 1973.

The students returned from Boston eager and determined to perfect their sound, performance and tunes.

“At first the students were fearing the worst [however] after hearing they scored higher than ever before they were happy. [I am] looking forward to the concert in March,” Dr. Fletcher said.