‘Caribbean Music and Stories’
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, email@example.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.