DownBeat magazine recently released its 40th-Annual Student Music Awards. Kent Denver's Quincy Ave. Rhythm Band, under the direction of Steve Holley, was recognized for Outstanding Performance in the Pop/Rock/Blues Band category. This is a record eighth time the Kent Denver R&B band has been recognized by DownBeat since first winning the award in 2006.
Run by Director of Commercial Music Stephen Holley—himself a professional musician—Kent Denver's music program has been at the forefront of high school music in Colorado and across the country for over a decade.
"One of the benefits of the Commercial Music Program at Kent Denver is that you truly can do it all. You can be a scholar. You can be a musician. You can be an athlete. For instance, one of the band's guitar players is taking four AP exams this year, and he's doing both academics and music at an incredibly high level," Holley says. "It all goes back to Kent Denver's commitment to developing the whole student and providing a well-rounded education."
Upper School students audition annually for a place in the Quincy Ave. Rhythm Band as well as the school's other bands. Those selected may take the class for credit each year during high school.
Downbeat's Student Music Awards awards are among the highest honors that students in jazz and commercial music education can receive. Recorded submissions are made anonymously, and a panel of highly-respected musicians and educators choose winners each year.
Kent Denver's Commercial Music Program has received a total of 11 DownBeat Student Music Awards, more than any high school in the Rocky Mountain region and more than any independent school in the country.
Congratulations to Mr. Holley and his amazing musicians!
Click here for a video featuring Mr. Holley and several Kent Denver Quincy Ave. Rhythm Band student-musicians.