Turpin’s tim­ing

School of Mu­sic head com­pli­ments first de­greed fe­male drum­mer

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Michael Reck­ord Gleaner Writer

NOVEM­BER 19, 2016, grad­u­a­tion day at the Edna Manley Col­lege of the Vis­ual and Per­form­ing Arts (EMCVPA), 1 Arthur Wint Drive, St An­drew, was ex­tra spe­cial for School of Mu­sic stu­dent Shal­isha Turpin. She be­came the col­lege’s first fe­male to grad­u­ate with a de­gree in drum­ming. “It wasn’t easy,” the soft-spo­ken 27year-old told me in an in­ter­view which be­gan in the mu­sic room at Holy Trin­ity High School, Kingston, where she has been teach­ing mu­sic for more than a year. It later con­tin­ued un­der a mango tree at the African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Swal­low­field, where Turpin has been drum­ming with the church band since she was 12 years old.

“A lot of peo­ple told me I couldn’t make it, in­clud­ing two of my lec­tur­ers at Edna Manley. At times I got very de­pressed and felt like giv­ing up,” Turpin said. Then, smil­ing, she added, “Some per­sons said I should take up modelling.” Tall and slim, she does have the look of a run­way model.

She con­tin­ued, “But my par­ents, my fam­ily and my teacher (at EMCVPA), Mr Der­rick Ste­wart, en­cour­aged me and helped me to over­come all the neg­a­tiv­ity. Now here I am, with my bach­e­lor’s de­gree in mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion (BME) and a trained teacher.”

Turpin’s ev­i­dent pride in her ac­com­plish­ment re­flected the ad­mi­ra­tion of School of Mu­sic di­rec­tor Roger Williams, who told me just hours be­fore that “Shal­isha is a very good drum­mer, very tal­ented,

A lot of peo­ple told me I coul dn’t make it

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