A musician from Bland County has been honored by Down Beat Magazine, America’s premier publication dedicated to blues, jazz and beyond. Eighteen-year-old Albert Newberry recently won the Outstanding Solo Performance Award (high school division) in the magazine’s worldwide 40th annual Student Music Awards contest.
Newberry was honored for his 10-minute performance of “My Favorite Things,” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music.”
Although a talented musician who plans to attend The Mannes School of Music in New York City this fall, Newberry said he was surprised to learn about the Down Beat award.
“It was validating,” he said. “I was kind of surprised, and it made me feel a little bit better about my playing. When I have lessons, they tell me what is wrong; rarely do you get something like that where they tell you that you did well.”
Newberry was familiar with the awards before he sent in his performance.
“I read Down Beat magazine; it’s the biggest jazz magazine out there, and I knew about the awards. I figured out the rules and recorded a song … I submitted it and I was not really expecting anything because so many people apply.”
Newberry’s version of the well-known song is longer than the original, coming in at nearly 10 minutes.
“There was nothing written down, no arrangement per se but I knew I was going to do something different with the song,” he said. “I did this thing where I changed keys every several measures. You…
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