Student Band to Play Festival

By Sandra Howe
Staff Writer

The student jazz ensemble BC bOp! has been invited to perform at Jazzfest USA, a national festival to be held from April 24-27 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.

Sponsored by Down Beat magazine, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and Universal Studios Florida, the festival will include clinics, concerts, jam sessions and classes taught by professional musicians. In addition, about 150 bands from across the nation will compete for gold, silver and bronze awards in categories at middle school, high school, college and university levels. Each student also will compete for the "Nation's Best Award," both as an ensemble player and as a soloist.

Representatives from GRP Records and MCA Records will be in attendance at the festival, which has been the springboard for the careers of such notable jazz newcomers as Joey DeFrancesco, Roy Hargrove and Christian McBride.

"Most of our students are headed for careers in medicine, law or academia, so I don't think they're looking at this as a way to be discovered," said Boston College Bands Director Sebastian Bonaiuto. "But it will still be a thrill for them to perform in front of some great musicians."

Bonaiuto said the band is preparing challenging material for the competition, which it also will perform at its March 30 concert.

"The band is mature so we can tackle tough material, which will give our members the greatest opportunity for musical growth, while allowing us to stand out and show a command of a variety of different genres," he said.

BC bOp! has performed frequently for both national and international audiences, including at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, three Club Med resorts and the Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

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