From May 19th to 26th 2019, five members of USC’s music and related faculty were involved in the hosting of a music workshop in beautiful St. Lucia – the Helen of the West.
The workshop, which was the brainchild of St. Lucia SDA Academy and CUC alumnus Mr Gilbert Jn-Francois, saw the participation of sixty nine (69) students from the Academy, the Eucharist Lewis SDA Primary School, as well as a few other schools in the surrounding community. The goal of the workshop was to provide training and raise funds for the strengthening of the Academy’s music programme, through the establishment of an orchestra at the institution.
The workshop attendees were able to benefit from musical training in five different areas facilitated by USC mUSiC’s highly qualified instructors – Strings (USC String instructor Boyd Gibson); Choir (USC voice instructor Paul Cort); Percussion (Dr. Tracy Hislop); Woodwind and Brass (Mr. Niall Edwards, Director CUC Secondary School Concert Band); and Choir Chimes (USC mUSiC Coordinator Kerron Hislop).
The week of activities catered for children of all ages and musical abilities and it was especially rewarding to see students who could not read a note of music at the beginning of the workshop being able to perform at the final recital, after just a week’s instruction. Their excitement and appreciation provided its own reward to the instructors who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the venture.
The week’s activities culminated in a final recital on Sunday May 26th, presented to a packed audience of parents, friends and well-wishers. This recital was held under the patronage of the Honourable Stephenson King, former Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and current Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour. Minister King expressed his delight at seeing the degree of success the programme had achieved in such a short space of time and demonstrated his support for the initiative through the provision of a substantial financial contribution to ensure its continued success. Additional support for the workshop was provided by the St. Lucia School of Music, the National Skills Development Center, the Saint Lucia Mission of Seventh Day Adventists and numerous other individual and business supporters.
The Academy’s Principal, Ms Jacinta Berthier, also revealed her satisfaction with the transformation and progress of her students during the workshop and her excitement at the possibilities for the future as the programme continues to grow.
Going forward, the Academy intends to purchase some much-needed equipment and follow up with a summer music camp in August in hopes that by September, the various ensembles including Choir, Chime Choir and Band/Orchestra will be integrated into the Academy’s programme.
USC mUSiC looks forward to continuing to support the musical vision of not only the St. Lucia SDA Academy, but of all our region’s institutions.