‘Caribbean Mu­sic and Sto­ries’

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Cat Foster Pho­tos by Elvin Ryan Ger­maine Ac­tiv­i­ties co-or­di­na­tor at the Boys Train­ing Cen­tre.

On Fri­day 30th and Satur­day 31st Jan­uary, au­di­ences were treated to an­other stel­lar per­for­mance at ‘Mu­sicbox’, the per­for­mance venue for the Saint Lu­cia School of Mu­sic - SLSM (very kindly do­nated by Michael Chas­tanet and Coco Re­sorts) at the Golden Palm Events Cen­tre in Rod­ney Heights. The oc­ca­sion was ‘An Evening of Caribbean Mu­sic and Sto­ries’, a fund-rais­ing con­cert or­ga­nized by the Amy Wine­house Mu­sic Project and the SLSM.

In 2014 the Amy Wine­house Foun­da­tion in the UK pro­vided fund­ing of $91,000 to ben­e­fit for one year chil­dren at the Dun­not­tar School and the Boys Train­ing Cen­tre. The money has en­abled drug aware­ness train­ing, the pur­chase of mu­si­cal in­stru­ments and the ser­vices of a teacher, John Polius.

Each con­cert opened with im­pres­sive per­for­mances from young­sters of both in­sti­tu­tions, demon­strat­ing the mag­nif­i­cent progress made since mu­si­cal in­struc­tion com­menced last Septem­ber. The kids de­served the stand­ing ova­tions!

John Polius’s group, Kos­mik Rid­dim, re­galed us with some reg­gae and Al­li­son Mar­quis con­jured up cap­ti­vat­ing notes from the steel pan. Lenny Stone brought some mel­low sounds to the venue: oldies tinged with a coun­try and west­ern beat while, on Satur­day, an ac­com­plished en­sem­ble from the SLSM em­pha­sised the lo­cal flavour of the evening with en­gag­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tions of folk songs by Saint Lu­cian com­posers. The ir­re­press­ible Gene Lawrence riv­eted the au­di­ence with tales of mu­sic in the Caribbean, es­pe­cially from days gone by, and had us all clap­ping and foot-tap­ping to his songs, with su­perb back­ing from teach­ers of the SLSM. The whole event was ably com­pered with en­thu­si­asm and panache by Lenny Bains.

All of the pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians gave their time and ser­vices for free be­cause they be­lieve pas­sion­ately in the power and benefits of mu­sic and recog­nise the im­por­tance of the work of the SLSM and the mu­si­cal teach­ing at the Dun­not­tar School and the Boys Train­ing Cen­tre.

Sue San­dle, a mem­ber of the steer­ing com­mit­tee for the Amy Wine­house Mu­sic Project, re­minded the au­di­ence that the good work and promis­ing re­sults achieved thus far have to be con­tin­ued for the sake of the chil­dren. By Septem­ber 2015 an­other $50,000 needs to be raised to pro­vide for the fol­low­ing year.

Richard Payne, Direc­tor of the SLSM, ad­dressed the au­di­ence as well as de­light­ing us with his ca­ress of the keys on the Bech­stein grand pi­ano (ac­quired with gen­er­ous as­sis­tance from Sagi­cor). In ad­di­tion to lessons and ac­tiv­i­ties at its Ta­pion premises, the SLSM sup­ports four so­cial in­clu­sion out­reach pro­grammes; gov­ern­ment has ceased to sup­port this wor­thy cause, hence the need for fundrais­ing.

Each evening ended to rap­tur­ous ap­plause fol­lowed by com­pli­men­tary cheese and nib­bles while or­gan­is­ers and mu­si­cians min­gled with happy pa­trons. Food and bev­er­age items were do­nated by good­hearted spon­sors: Ad­mac Ltd, Bread Bas­ket, La Cantina, Barbay, Peter & Co, Du Boulay’s Bot­tling Co, Blue Wa­ters and Spin­nakers. Spe­cial thanks went to Ba­nana Stage for the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the stage, light­ing and sound.

Ticket sales raised over $10,000 which will ben­e­fit the ad­mirable works of the Amy Wine­house Mu­sic Project and the SLSM. Any per­sons or or­gan­i­sa­tions who wish to pro­vide fur­ther dona­tions or be­come spon­sors are asked to con­tact Sue San­dle (721 2010, nor­man­sue2000@hot­mail.com) or the Saint Lu­cia School of Mu­sic – 452 2473.

The au­di­ence re­ceiv­ing a mu­si­cal treat from Stu­dents

of the Dun­not­tar School.

Gene Lawrence and Friends on stage.

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