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Plans in place for formation of National Youth Band

Plans in place for formation of National Youth Band


The decommissioned ET Joshua Airport last Saturday became the stomping ground for 140 musicians from secondary schools across the country, as they performed in the first ever National Secondary School Bands Showcase.

Patrons were entertained by singing, dancing and the playing of instruments at the event, sponsored by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Cooperative Credit Union (SVGTCCU), the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture.

According to the events creator and coordinator Rodney Small, the event was a success.

Small said he was impressed by the support of the public, as demonstrated by their attendance at the event. He said the organizing committee has seen room for improvement and the aim now is to ensure longevity of the event.

“We are going to keep pushing; this just scratches the surface of what we want to achieve, although this first showcase was a total success and met all expectations.”

Small, the newly appointed coordinator of cultural industries in the Ministry of Culture, has, as part of his portfolio, the responsibility to show how the industry can make money and to create avenues for money making, while being an advocate for the industry.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that now that the showcase is over, the next move is to move into a mentorship programme, while doing intense training with the various groups that took part.

“There is multiple stuff that is going to be taking place for 2018 where the school bands are concerned. We will be doing a post mortem with the teachers and the students. This showcase was to see the areas we need to work on and put some intense training in those areas.”

Small revealed that out of this, it is hoped that a national youth band and a national youth orchestra will be formed.

“We want a youth band to be formed to back the Junior Calypso or Junior Soca Monarch competitions and ending off the year, we want to form the national youth orchestra and allow them to make their first presentation at the national Independence parade,” said Small, who revealed that negotiations are taking place to achieve this.

The national youth band and national youth orchestra will be made up of persons selected from each of the 11 bands that performed last Saturday, March 24.

“The St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Cooperative Credit Union and everyone involved were satisfied with the event,” said Small, who also revealed that the title sponsor, the SVGTCCU, has put together a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing to sponsoring the event for four years.

“The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education see this as an ongoing event, so we will encourage them to renew after the four-year period,” said Small, smiling while noting that the event could not have been a success without the help of the many sponsors, including those who aided the 11 bands individually.

Taking part in the event, which carried the theme “Bringing a Modern Approach to Music Education,” were FLOW Thomas Saunders Secondary School, Tus-T Water YELL (a community group), National Insurance Services (NIS) Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia, Posse Snacks West St George Secondary School, RJR Sandy Bay Secondary School, Arabesque Shipping Inc North Union Secondary School, National Lotteries Authority (NLA) Intermediate High School, Sunset Shores Bishop’s College Kingstown, Vitamalt Bethel High School and Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG) Grammar School.

The bands tackled songs in different genres, from gospel to reggae, in the form of Bob Marley songs to Michael Jackson’s pop tunes. Soca and rhythm and blues were also performed.

Students from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, in the form of a band called “Resonance,” also performed. The SVGTCCU band made a guest performance.

The event saw the bands competing in a competition in which they were asked to create a jingle for the SVGTCCU to use in their promotions. YELL, a group which performed gospel music, won this competition.(LC)