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The ALPHA SCHOOL OF MUSIC END-OF-YEAR CONCERT

On Thursday, May 11, all roads led to the Alpha Courtyard for the Upward & Onward concert. After a year of music practice, music theory, and instrument lessons (and, yes, more practice!), the Alpha School of Music 2022-2023 academic year came to an end with the annual end-of-the-year graded performance. Sponsored by CHASE Funds, the event featured ensemble performances by the Alpha School of Music and the Alpha Community Band. Throughout the evening, 200+ patrons were singing, dancing, and enjoying various musical treats beneath the stars.

Gay Magnus, ASOM Bandmaster and Director of Music noted, “The concert is an important part of the curriculum as it gives the students real-world experience. I have to give thanks to our sponsors and to our audience who turned out to support us and made this concert the highlight of our academic year.”

Every performance featured the ensemble format that Alpha is known for and foundation Jamaican and international music were prominent throughout. The ASOM Guitar Ensemble opened the show with Jamaican classics “Peanut Vendor” and “Linstead Market,” before the ASOM Choir delighted with a Jimmy Cliff Medley and Prince Buster’s classic “Hard Man Fi Dead”. As always, the ASOM Percussion Studio class took the vibes to another level with the clever and adventurous arrangements by Senior Music Instructor Clayon Samuels.

This year, the Alpha School of Music debuted its Sound System Performance at the concert in the format of a tune-fi-tune clash. The sound clash, a uniquely Jamaican ensemble approach to music performance, challenged students to engage with the music and each other in new ways. Assisting in the effort was Johnny Osbourne, a former Alpha student who has achieved international success in a variety of Jamaican popular music genres. Mr. Osbourne contributed special recordings to the students, who competed for the audience’s attention by playing, introducing, and speaking over the recordings. What a vibe!

The Alpha Community Band came to ‘wow’ the crowd and they did not disappoint. They delivered a Caribbean Music Ensemble with a selection of Kompa from Haiti, Reggae from Trinidad, and Soca from Antigua all performed in style and vibrancy, with brass, woodwinds, and percussion adding new momentum through their soloing. Following that came the Year one and Year two bands with Jamaica traditional songs and the Ska Band who closed the night in true fashion with their surprise medley, ‘One Drop’ by the Skatalites, and ‘Chango’ by Ska Cubano leaving the audience raring for more. The sounds of music never sounded so good.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the event both in person and via Instagram Live. Your contribution and continuous support are appreciated. Special thanks to WISYNCO and Jamaica Producers for providing refreshments, as well as Jamaica Nice. for its continued support of music education. A big thank you to reggae star and Digicel brand ambassador Jesse Royal and the Digicel Foundation for their kind contribution, which will enable for the purchase of various music equipment. We cannot thank them enough for their incredible support.

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