The Alpha Boys Band performed the opening set at Reggae Sumfest 2019 last Saturday night in Montego Bay. It was the school’s first time on the Sumfest stage but the crowd acted like they knew Alpha all along. Playing a range of ska, rocksteady, reggae and dub including an original piece, The Alpha Boys Band led by senior music instructor Clayon Samuels struck gold with Alton Ellis ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ and classics like the Answer and Real Rock riddims.
Band instructor Clayon Samuels said he is proud of the discipline the band has shown this year. “We set some goals at the beginning of the year,” he said, “and I’m proud to say we’ve reached many of them. Sumfest was not even on the list. So in many ways I think we succeeded our expectations as a band. These amazing experiences are a result of great chemistry, lots of preparation and the support that Alpha provides to the music department, the students and their families.”
The Alpha Boys Band trombone player, Jordan Moncrieffe, said he felt nervous but learned a lot. “I would like to thank Alpha, [Alpha’s band instructor] Mr. Samuels, Rayven [from the Jamaica Best School Band competition] and Joe Bogdanovic as well as the Reggae Sumfest team for sharing this huge platform with Alpha Institute”.
Alpha’s Sumfest performance follows their awarding winning performance at the Jamaica Best School Band competition where Sumfest boss Joe Bogdanovic made a personal invitation to Alpha. When that day finally came, the band felt some nerves but it never showed.
The administrator for Alpha, Margaret little Wilson, said she was grateful for the attention and the respect shown to the school. “Sumfest was a big production and the Alpha Boys Band was treated with a lot of respect which is wonderful. The students were treated like professionals and they acted as such. It is an honor that Alpha was part of making the event and we hope Sumfest understands how grateful we are.”
Reggae Sumfest puts a wonderful capstone on the 2019 Alpha Boys Band which included individual and group accomplishments. From drummer Sanjay Landell receiving a Gold Medal from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission to the band taking home the 2019 Jamaica Best School Band crown, this year demonstrates that great music education produces great results.
Alpha owes the Reggae Sumfest team and Down Sound Entertainment a massive thank you for this very special opportunity. A big shout out as well goes to The Denizen JA, The Cool Jerk in Greece and the March for Music Education for sponsoring Alpha’s Road To Sumfest.