Local entertainment hotspots should seriously consider hiring school bands to play live music at special events.
This was one of the major messages emphasised at the prize giving ceremony this week for the National School Bands showcase, which took place on March 23.
Rodney Small, the coordinator of the showcase, said that the event aimed to showcase young talent in St Vincent and the Grenadines, while exposing patrons to music of various cultures.
Small highlighted several other aims of the initiative with two others being to enhance the tourism product and create employment for full time entertainers.
“We can safely say that more than 70 per cent of these objectives are now realities. Coming right after the school bands showcase, we saw some of the school bands making appearances at major events,” Small said.
Small thanked title sponsors of the event, St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Cooperative Credit Union (SVGTCCU), the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture for their involvement and push to develop the nation’s youth in a holistic way.
He thanked other sponsors of the event as well and called on potential sponsors to partner with the showcase for 2020.
“It’s not too late to join us. We welcome you with open arms. I know as CEOs, managers, you sometimes worry about where your money is going, but I can guarantee you that investing your money into the National School Bands Showcase project is one that you would never regret,” the coordinator said.
Three secondary schools were awarded top prizes at the prize giving ceremony this week.
The Tus-T Water Troumaca Ontario Secondary School was awarded the Most Disciplined Band of 2018, the FCIB St Martin’s Secondary was given the Ministry of Tourism Most Promising Band award and the CDC Bethel High School was given the Ministry of Education Excellence Award for Music.
The Bethel High School also won the jingle competition and band members were awarded with accounts from the SVGTCCU with a starting balance of $100.
Other participants in this year’s showcase were the Vitamalt Central Leeward Secondary School, NIS Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia, Agriculture Input WareHouse Thomas Saunders Secondary School, Arabesque Shipping Bishop’s College Kingstown, BOSVG St Vincent Grammar School, Posse Snacks Social Experiment Band, Coreas Distribution West St George Secondary School, NLA Intermediate High School and RJR Sandy Bay Secondary School.
Curtis King, vice president of the SVGTCCU commended all schools that participated in the competition and lauded the event for being an excellent one to showcase young talent.
“We now have an annual event, but we have to move it beyond the annual event. I am indeed heartened when I listened to Mr Small reiterating the objectives. We have to move now to that other level where we can have the bands performing on a more regular basis,” he said.
King encouraged entertainment venues to provide an avenue for live bands to perform, particularly school bands to help foster possible career opportunities for students.
He also encouraged principals and administrators in schools to take music more seriously in the curriculum as many still look at music as an appendage.
“Let the young people see that this is also an opportunity for providing a career that would generate sort of resources that will help them to better their lives,” King said.
Tourism minister, Cecil McKie also conveyed similar sentiments in his remarks as he said that school bands have the potential to be a part of the major festivals in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
McKie said that some of the most popular people around the world earn a living in music and that the opportunity was there for students to tap into as well.
The minister said 18 schools expressed an interest in participating this year, but he hoped that all 26 secondary schools in the country will express an interest in the future.
“I’m brave enough also to predict that in 2020, if we don’t have the participation of all 26 schools in the showcase, that we would have engaged all of them and they all would have music programmes at their secondary schools,” he said.
McKie expressed hope in engaging primary schools to create a music foundation for students and said that he foresees “that the call would be made for a school of music in St Vincent and the Grenadines. That is the direction that I think we are heading.”
Dexter Bacchus, a representative from the Ministry of Education said that the showcase was a success and that the ministry pledges its full support to the “outstanding production”.
Bacchus also thanked all the sponsors who contributed to the event.
This was the second School Bands Showcase held in St Vincent and the Grenadines and it is expected to be an annual event.