Prep Music, Dance Programs Garner National Titles

By Communications Specialist, Grades 9-12, Maegan Azpiazu

The Prep music and dance programs are closing out the academic year on a high note, each garnering national championships just three weeks apart. Overall, both programs have had highly successful awards seasons this spring.


March 21-25, the Sundancers (the Prep dancers) traveled to Long Beach, California, for West Coast Elite Nationals where they were named national champions for their Jazz number, "Big Spender," a piece that also earned them Best in Class in the Jazz category. In addition, the Sundancers earned a pair of second-place finishes, two third-place finishes, and four more top-five finishes, including a trio which earned an Elite rating. Gulliver's soloists also fared well, with Andrea Gil '21 taking third place overall in the 9th Grade GOLD Division, and Izabella Lyon '19 and Juliana Yaniz '19 taking 14th place overall in the 11th Grade SILVER and GOLD divisions, respectively.

Prior to West Coast Elite Nationals, the Sundancers competed at Contest of Champions, held March 2-5, at Disney ESPN's Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The highlight of their many stellar performances came from Alexandra Yaniz '19, who won fourth place overall, out of 150 senior soloists. The competition staff also awarded the Sundancers the Spirit of Disney Award, which is a reflection of how team members interact behind the scenes.

The Sundancers kicked off competition season at January's American Dance Alliance Florida State competition at Florida International University. Gulliver came away victorious in the Jazz/Funk category for "Guaya Guaya." A first-place duet, first-place junior soloist (Andrea Gil '21) and a first-place trio also earned Elite ratings.

The dance department held its sold-out spring show, A Night to Remember, on May 5 in new venue at the McCarthy Theater at Miami-Dade College, Kendall Campus.

Prep Musicians

March 12-15, Prep musicians traveled to Orlando for the WorldStrides National Music Festival, where Gulliver earned the Sweepstakes Award for Total Program, awarded to the highest-scoring multi-ensemble school. Gulliver's Vocal, Jazz and String ensembles each took first place, and the Vocal Ensemble also won the Outstanding Choral Group Award and the Adjudicator Award, which goes to the highest-scoring choral group in the festival.

Out of 11 total Maestro Solo Awards given out at WorldStrides, Gulliver students earned four:

Brandon Suarez '21 (Alto Saxophone – Jazz Ensemble)

Chris Ricardo '19 (Trumpet – Jazz Ensemble & Wind Ensemble)

Kyle Bramson '20 (Alto Saxophone – Jazz Ensemble)

Gonzalo Schaps '18 (Baritone Voice – Vocal Ensemble)

Prior to the national competition, Prep musicians excelled at the district and state levels, including notching an overall Superior rating for the 15th-consecutive year at the Florida Bandmasters Association State Festival for Jazz and Solo & Ensemble.

This spring all ensembles – Jazz, Wind, String and Vocal – earned straight Superior ratings (15 out of 15) at their respective District Music Performance Assessment festivals. This is just the fourth time that has happened in the history of the Prep music program (including 2006, 2014 and 2015). Additionally, Gulliver earned an astounding 32 Superior ratings at the Florida Orchestra Association and Florida Vocal Association District Solo & Ensemble Festival.

Coming May 5!

Mark your calendars for Encore! – the Prep music department's spring concert! The concert will take place on Saturday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Maurice Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami. Click here for more information.