National Cultural Foundation launches book of patriotic and school songs
Left to Right: Junior Sutherland, Director of the NCF & Wollis Christopher, Chairman of the NCF
September 18, 2020

National Cultural Foundation launches book of patriotic and school songs

With the launch of the Vincentian Patriotic and School Songs book, which contains arrangements of 13 traditional patriotic songs and 18 school songs, a four-phase project of significant cultural import has budded.

This book was launched at a physical distanced ceremony held by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) at the Peace Memorial Hall on September 15.

Central to the birth of this book, was Junior Sutherland, a Director of the NCF, a music teacher at the St Vincent Grammar School, the head of JR Music Studio, and leader of the music band, VYKINZ.

Chairman of the NCF, Wollis Christopher explained on Tuesday that with the publication of the work, the NCF seeks “to document, enhance and hence preserve the legacy and work of some of our greatest and most famous Vincentian composers and musicians, many of whom have gone to the great beyond.”

Sutherland, well trained in arranging and producing music, has arranged and transcribed songs by these Vincentian composers and transposed them into SATB format – Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass.

“This enhancement to these songs will now enable choirs and other mixed ensembles to be employed to perform these songs,” Christopher informed.

The book also contains the accurate documentation and preservation of the works of composers and musicians who wrote school songs for 13 Secondary Schools and five Primary Schools.

Minister of Tourism, Cecil McKie, who dubbed the book a “treasure” was also among those present for the launch.

“Going through the collection, there is no doubt that it provides significant value in the schools, the churches, the communities, for groups, for bands across St Vincent and the Grenadines as a current reference, and also for the future of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” the Minister noted.

He told the NCF that they have started very important work with their second publication following the Vincentian Folk Song Book launched in 2017. The Minister urged them to continue aiming for the skies.

Sutherland himself explained that, in keeping with modern times, the patriotic and school songs book comes with QR code technology which allows persons access to the songs that are within.

The Director explained that a card comes with every book, which contains the code. Using a phone, persons need only to scan the code and they will have access to the songs.

Those not using a phone may access them by typing in a short URL.

“I want to assure everyone here and those who are hearing my voice, that the intellectual property of each piece of work remains the property of the original composers, or their heirs,” Sutherland told the audience.

“I want to recommend that after recouping the cost of the book, that 40 per cent of the profit, if any profit is there at all, be disseminated amongst the composers and or their heirs as commission,” he noted.

The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Band, using the arrangements of SATB sent to them by Sutherland, rendered a number of songs, including “I love the Blessed Hairouna” and the Georgetown Secondary School song.

There are four more phases linked to the publication of the book.

“Whether or not I am on the new Board or not, when the new Parliament is convened, I will be pursuing the implementation and the follow up of these phases nonetheless,” Sutherland stated.

Phase one involves gifting, in a ceremony to be held next week, the books to all the schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The remainder of the books will be sold in bookstores.

Phase two involves the organization of a National Independence Concert, which will feature all of the songs in the book, performed by the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Band.

The third phase involves production of school graduation memorabilia. On display at the Memorial Hall were prototypes of these memorabilia.

The final phase will be the production of music videos for the songs.