Belen Concert, Jazz Bands Win First Place at Orlando Fest

Andres Leiva | Marketing Specialist
On the weekend of March 23, the Belen Concert and Jazz Bands participated in OrlandoFest. The impressive performances by both bands earned the Belen musicians two highly-graded gold medal finishes.

“In competition, students get to see the fruits of their efforts,” said Band Director Marlene Urbay. “It’s very important for the students to be able to see the result of their hard work.”

At OrlandoFest, the Belen groups each competed against 15 other bands from around the nation. Three adjudicators critiqued and graded performances of three different musical pieces. To win, a band’s result had to top all other bands’ scores. Not only did each Belen band win its respective category, both bands also earned the best possible rating from adjudicators - superior.

"I am very proud of our band program," said Principal Jose E. Roca '84. "They have consistently placed first in their state, national, and international competitions.  The band program has become a recruiting tool for the school.  Students apply to Belen with the objective of one day playing in the Honors Concert or Jazz bands. "

The Concert Band’s musical selections were “Forest Brook Overture,” by Erik Morales, “What’s Up at the Symphony?” a selection from classical pieces, and Robert Longfield’s “Mamma Mia.” The Jazz Band played “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” by Duke Ellington, “Mas Que Nada,” by Jorge Ben, and “Alianza,” by Erik Morales.

“Fellow music teachers, Ruben Jiménez, Rey Guerra, Javier Alonso and I are immensely proud of the students,” said Urbay. “We’re proud of how they can express themselves in another language - the universal language of music.”

“This is the 12th year in a row that the bands win a prize at a competition,” said Humanities Chairperson Sylvie San Juan. “This proves the hard work that Ms. Urbay and the music teachers have put into the bands. Through their dedication, they inspired their students to succeed. The whole school should be very proud of the bands’ accomplishments.”
500 SW 127th Avenue, Miami, FL 33184
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Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain.  The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline.  In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty.  The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow.  Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.