SLSM LAUNCHES THE SYSTEM OF ORCHESTRA AND CHOIRS
The Saint Lucia School of Music (SLSM) has received a grant from the Windsong Foundation, a US-based philanthropic organisation. The funds are being used to help support the school’s Youth Orchestra and Youth Choir. The SLSM invited guests and students to its premises on Saturday June 23 for an official launch of The System of Orchestra and Choirs.
Present at the ceremony was Ms. Georgis TaylorAlexander, a high court judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and a friend of the SLSM who helped facilitate initial discussions with the foundation trustees. Also in attendance were Leiff Escalona, the Venezuelan Ambassador; Ms. Dawn French, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Culture; Mrs. Rufina Charles, acting Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education; celebrated Saint Lucian soca artist Teddyson John and other distinguished and invited guests.
The grant has enabled the SLSM to award fifty students with scholarships for its youth orchestra and choir programme. Richard Payne, Executive Director of the SLSM, was delighted that this is helping to achieve part of the school’s vision: an opportunity for all to receive a musical education. He spoke of how music can be a vehicle for social change and transform lives. Citing as an example the Marchand youth orchestra that the school established nine years ago in partnership with the Organization of American States and the Government of Saint Lucia, he declared, “We have seen what music can do to change the lives of individuals and communities.”
Mr. Payne reminded the gathering that the SLSM opened 30 years ago, thanking the government and private sector partners for their support during those three decades. Mrs Charles shared the findings of the Ministry of Education that the arts play an important role in the development of young people and that students should therefore be exposed to the arts at a young age.
Mr. Payne acknowledged the support of the Venezuelan Embassy and the personal interest of the ambassador, Ms. Escalona. Jose Salazar Marin, the SLSM’S String Teacher related how he had benefitted from “El Sistema”, the programme in his native Venezuela whereby all children can be exposed to classical music and learn to play an instrument at no cost, a model that has been emulated in 64 countries including here in Saint Lucia.
The featured speaker, Mrs. Fiona Mayer, Head of Primary Ecole Mondiale World School in Mumbai, India expressed her concern that creativity is being “killed”. She urged the students to “Let it [musical education] be a path that you continue. See the instrument as broadening your skills and ensure the talent you were given is used well.”
The proceedings included two video excerpts from a concert in Castries Cathedral in July 2015 by the combined SLSM and the Maturin Chamber Orchestra of Venezuelan. There was also a performance of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3 Gigue by student and mentor Coman Fevriere, who has been awarded a tuition scholarship to study at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and a rendition of The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” by the SLSM Chamber Ensemble, all proof of the heights to which young people can climb when given the opportunity.
An articulate Mrs. Natalie Jolie Fanis was the Mistress of Ceremony.
The SLSM looks forward to showcasing the talent of its students and faculty members with a Beatles-themed concert on Saturday July 28 at the St. Lucia Yacht Club in Rodney Bay. Tel. (758) 452 2473 / 285 2936 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and tickets.
Richard Payne, Executive Director of the SLSM, explaining the school’s visions and achievements.
Coman Fevriere, a SLSM student, has been awarded a tuition scholarship for a US university.