The gift of a classic education - Music Through the Ages funds final-year university students
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
On Sunday, a group of musical volunteers will perform in the chapel at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus.
A student enrolled there will benefit directly from the voices, giving service through song at the 2014 Music Through the Ages concert. Carole Reid explained that the proceeds from the Jamaica America Friendship Association (JAFA) event will go towards funding a final-year student at UWI and also one at the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica.
Reid, a renowned soprano who is one of the performers, said one of the most lasting ways to develop Jamaica is through education, an area JAFA has consistently focused on. This year is no different with the extensive line-up also including the Nexus Choir, National Youth Orchestra, Justin Lowe (on steel pan), Gay Magnus (steel pan), Jheanelle Owens (violin), Jon Williams and Family, Jodi Ho Lung (soprano), Dawn Fuller-Phillips (alto), Franklin Halliburton (bass), Lt Com John McFarlane (tenor), Rory Baugh (tenor), Livingston Burnett (pianist/organist) and Donald Hossack (organist).
Weston Haughton will do hosting duties, with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., and the concert starting at 6 p.m. The contribution is $2,000 and Governor General Sir Patrick Allen is the patron.
In putting together the line-up, Reid said, "I call my friends. They give of their talents freely." It has also been timed to allow for work and school the following day, at a precise two hours and a minute, with a 10-minute intermission.
Explaining the tone of Music Through the Ages, Reid said, "We have several concerts that promote reggae, dancehall and so on, but we have limited outlets for the classical. I think it is a catalyst - the good pop musicians have classical backgrounds." She gave Stephen 'Cat' Coore of Third World as an example.
"We need our children to be exposed to all genres and then they choose," Reid said, also pointing to a number of young people on Sunday's line-up who will perform along with their seniors. "We can see that the music lives on. The younger generation is coming up and showing excellence," she said.
JAFA was founded to "share the strengths" between Jamaica and the USA, said Reid, noting the pivotal role of the Angella Harvey, then at the US Embassy. "She was the champion of the cause," Reid said.
Looking back at past beneficiaries of the JAFA Scholarship Fund, Reid said, "They have done well." And, apart from Music Through the Ages, the organisation also assists the National Water Commission Basic School off Old Hope Road, as well as host an annual treat for about 200 children.
Among those supporting Sunday's concert are Peak Bottling Company, Big Jo, Power 106 FM and The Gleaner.
"We want the support of Jamaica because education is the only way for a better Jamaica," Reid said.