COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — St. George’s Independent School’s American Music Ensemble has been named Top ‘Best High School Blues, Pop, Rock Group’ this year by DownBeat Magazine in the 45th Annual Student Music Awards.
Two seniors at the school said the key for the band is practicing as they perform.
“Parker the drummer will start playing something, said John Miraglia, a senior who plays the bass. “I’ll start playing something and DeAndre will start playing something,” said John. "We don’t even talk to each other before that happens.”
When the St. George’s band gets together, playing in sync comes naturally.
“It’s this thing when you have this chemistry with people that you can play things just outright," said pianist DeAndre Deener. "It’s very liberating,”
He has been playing the piano since he was 4-years-old and first learned to play by ear.
“I would be sitting in the congregation with my family I would see the musicians, just how much fun they were having really attracted me to the idea and concept of playing music, said Deener.
DeAndre will be studying jazz at the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a full-ride scholarship.
He’s keeping in mind advice from another Memphis musician.
“As Kirk Whalum told me, use music to serve and use music the music I create to invoke certain feelings in other people that’s what I’d really like to do,” explained Deener.
When Miraglia found out they were named the top 'High School Blues, Pop, Rock Band in the nation, he said “I found out we’d won and I was like wait a second I never considered that possibility but it’s super awesome,” said Miraglia.
John who is playing lacrosse in college with a full scholarship said the hours of study have helped him perfect his craft.
“All the theory and reading music understanding different types, the blues, jazz stuff like that it takes a long time to learn and get used to,” said bassist.
For DeAndre his instrument has given him another gift.
“All the musicality that goes into the 88 keys of the grand piano is really what attracted me to the instrument itself,” shared Deener. “It’s been a pleasure getting to know the instrument because the instrument also helped me get to know myself.”