Music at Xaverian (better known as MAX) is an all-inclusive performance-based program. Any student, regardless of experience, can join. It allows students of any background to participate and take their performing to the highest levels of musicianship. “Opportunity for everyone” has been the philosophical backbone of MAX since its inception.
Music at Xaverian had very humble beginnings. It started in 1994 with 24 student musicians and one performing group. Now it boasts a student body of 670 students with 24 different performing ensembles. The groups range from the youngest performers to groups who play some of the most challenging repertoire in each ensemble.
Music at Xaverian develops skills such as discipline, listening, cooperation, commitment, leadership, dedication, and perseverance in a structured approach that will challenge students to reach their highest potential. Students obtain knowledge that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives in whatever careers they may choose. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education using data on more than 25,000 secondary school students found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12. Students who have participated in the Music Program have typically been at the top of their class academically. In fact, many of the students involved in the MAX program have received music scholarships to the colleges of their choice, even though they may not be studying music full time. There is also a strong correlation between a student’s involvement in music education and strong standardized test scores.
The list of performance opportunities is wide and varied. One of the fundamentals of the program is a reflection on American Musical Art forms. Our Jazz Bands perform traditional Jazz music of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Our Doo Wop Chorus is committed to keeping alive the music of the 50s and 60s. Our Barber Shop Quartet is just that, keeping the music of that time period fresh in our memories. A breakdown of our course offering is as follows: Select Band, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Octet, Jazz Band I, Jazz Band II, Select Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, Introductory Strings, Jazz/Doo Wop Chorus, Liturgical Choir, Barbershop Quartet, Advanced Guitar Ensemble, Intermediate Guitar Ensemble, Beginning Guitar, Harp Ensemble, Drum Line, Pep Band, Genesis Beginning Band, Genesis Advanced Band, Genesis Beginning Orchestra, Genesis Advance Orchestra, Genesis Chorus, and a Pipe and Drum group. Our classroom offerings include Introductory Theory and Advanced Placement Theory. Each student receives academic credit for each course successfully completed.
There is also a community service component attached to each group. All groups perform at community functions numerous times throughout the year. MAX students have the experience of giving back to both the school community, as well as society at large. Each year many of the groups perform at many local NYC events including parades, nursing homes, and hospitals. MAX is proud to be the official band of the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Brooklyn Ragamuffin Parade. The program performs annually at the Tunnel to Towers Run, numerous 9/11 Memorial events, the Police Officer Chris Hoban Memorial Run, Fleet Week events for our military, the Salvation Army Kettle Kick Off, and at various functions at Fort Hamilton Army Base. Each year, MAX holds a Car Wash and BBQ for the community, as well as an end-of-year BBQ and awards ceremony.
MAX has been honored to perform at the White House twice. Xaverian’s musicians also had the distinct honor of playing for Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis’ arrivals to New York City. The groups have performed at such noteworthy venues as Madison Square Garden, the Hammerstein Ballroom, the National Gallery of Art, Hershey Park, and the Barclays Center. MAX has also received international recognition, with the Jazz Band I and the Doo Wop Chorus performing in Japan during the 2005 World’s Fair. They have since been back touring four more times. This tour was the start of the “B” Bridges Exchange program. This exchange program to Japan is run in conjunction with Anthony Bianchi ’76, who the first North American elected to public office in Japan.