West Ashley students perform with Benedict jazz band

February 19 15:59 2019 Print This Article

The Benedict College Jazz Ensemble participated in West Ashley High School’s Black History Month program by doing a performance and inviting West Ashley jazz musicians on-stage. The jazz ensemble performed such classic songs as Goin’ to Kansas City and Georgia On My Mind.

Benedict Director of Bands Wade Johnson, a Charleston County native, engaged the West Ashley students by getting them to chant, “Hey, hey, da blues is alright!” Johnson coordinated the program with West Ashley Band Director Justin Hubbard and included a dozen West Ashley students on-stage. Some of them played solo pieces. Johnson said such programs allow high school students to appreciate a music genre that they are not accustomed to.

The band programs are a very important part of campus life at Benedict, a small private college in Columbia. Benedict is among America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). The college of about 2000 students has the 160-piece Tiger Band of Distinction, which performs at football games and competes against other HBCU’s in the annual Battle of the Bands. The competition was featured in the movie Drum Line. Johnson and his staff are hosting a high school Band Camp Saturday, April 13. Johnson told the West Ashley students that Benedict offers band scholarships and paid summer internships.

Photo by Donnie Newton, West Ashley High School