The Oxbridge Academy Jazz Ensemble took home highest honors, receiving a top rating, at the 49th annual Berklee School of Music High School Jazz Festival in Boston, beating out more than 185 ensembles that traveled from across the United States and Puerto Rico to compete.
The Oxbridge Jazz Ensemble won its category and classification, and also received the highest score of any ensemble in the entire competition. The ensemble earned a score of 296 points out of a possible 300 points.
The Oxbridge Jazz Ensemble includes bassist Ari Wells of Boynton Beach, keyboardist Philip Taylor of West Palm Beach, percussionist Andre Sudol of Jupiter, keyboardist Noah Wells of Boynton Beach and percussionist J.C. Hannon of West Palm Beach. Ernie Mills, director of instrumental music at Oxbridge, directs the Oxbridge Jazz Ensemble.
Wells was also recognized as one of the top musicians in the entire competition, earning the Superior Musicianship award, which is only awarded to one student per division. Additionally, Phillip Taylor was recently selected as a member of the Jazz Band of America.
“These young men have worked hard to learn the language of jazz. It has been a pleasure working with them, and I could not be more pleased with how well they performed at the Berklee Festival,” Mills said. “It is students like these that make Oxbridge a wonderful place to teach.”
Information about the festival can be found at http://festival.berkleejazz.org, including results of the competition and recordings of each group. Videos of winning ensembles will be posted soon.
The Oxbridge Academy is a private college preparatory high school, serving grades 9 to 12. The school is located at 3151 N. Military Trail in West Palm Beach. For more information, visit www.oapb.org or call (561) 972-9600.
ABOVE: Keyboardist Philip Taylor, keyboardist Noah Wells, bassist Ari Wells, percussionist Andre Sudol and percussionist J.C. Hannon.