Dinthill ‘bands’ it!

Jamaica Observer Article – BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer – Published April 16, 2024

Dinthill ‘bands’ it!

St Catherine-based school cops 11th Jamaica Best School Band title

Dinthill Technical High School won the 11th Jamaica Best School Band (JBSB) competition on Sunday at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

It was the St Catherine-based school’s second appearance in the contest.

Finishing second was St Mary High School, with Calabar High School third, and Belair High School from Manchester in fourth.

Dinthill were popular contestants, drawing sustained applause during an animated performance which heard them doing improvised renditions of Ghetto Paradise — a reggae take on Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise — Ernest Wilson’s Money Worries, Ray Charles’
Hit The Road Jack; and Clarks by Vybz Kartel.

Rohan Johnson, head of Dinthill’s music programme since 2019, told the Jamaica Observer that his band owes a lot to the school’s past students.

“We’ve been getting a lot of support from them, especially the batch of ‘77. They’ve been with us every step of the journey,” he said.

Johnson, a keyboardist in Romain Virgo’s band, added that his students respect the fact that he is a professional musician.

“When they see how passionate I am about it it drives the creativity in them, the commitment and determination,” he said.

The winners received $300,000 and a drum kit.

St Mary High School, which did well-received versions of Billy Paul’s Me And Mrs Jones, Bob Marley’s Jamming, and Michael Jackson’s Rock Your World, were awarded $250,000.

Best Band Leader went to keyboardist Jamaal Sterling of St Mary High; Most Outstanding Performer (Male) was Khaliel Harvey of Calabar, with Tajana Gardener of Belair taking the female equivalent.

Rayven Armani, who started the JBSB in 2014, told the Observer that this year’s round of competition, which attracted 10 schools, was outstanding.

“It culminated in a magnificent final, Dinthill was strong from the beginning. They always looked like the favourites. Each time they stepped out they gave a good presentation,” she said.

Veteran musicians Lloyd Parks and Stephen Stewart, along with Ewan Simpson, head of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, were judges. Their assessments were based on planning and preparedness, interaction with audience, quality of performance and presentation.