Providence Heights Community Band makes sweet music
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
The Providence Heights Infant School in St James was the scene of much fun recently as parents and community members were given a rich musical treat by the Providence Heights Community Band during the staging of its third annual music recital.
Residents, along with representatives from the National Housing Trust (NHT), were in a foot-tapping mood as the band, which was formed as part of a community intervention project for at-risk youth in the area, delighted with an electrifying performance, which included many local favourites.
It was all musical joy as the band performed classy renditions of hits from legends like Bob Marley and Michael Jackson and sizzling musical pieces from Walt Disney Pictures' The Lion King.
Wendy-Jo Williams, manager of NHT's Social Development Department, said the band was formed through her department's Music Transformation Programme, which seeks to have an impact on at-risk children and youth through music.
"What the programme does is use music to attract their attention ... . These children get to learn music via notes, and they can also learn by ear," said Williams. "What we are doing is investing in resources such as tutors, and it is a partnership between us and the community. The NHT covers the cost of the classes, and we also have a remedial programme."
She continued, "One remarkable thing is that this programme is sustainable because we have a lot of partnerships, so we are partnering with a lot of entities," Williams added. "The member of parliament (Edmund Bartlett) has been very supportive, and Food For The Poor gave the instruments towards the programme."
President of the Providence Heights Citizens' Association Glendon Ferguson urged community members to support the music programme and the community band.
"I am happy to see the young people and how they have tremendously developed," said Ferguson. "I want to say to parents, and those who do not support the programme, to come on board because we need the young people ... . This is a thing we can use to transform and make the young people raise the bar from now."
A brief award ceremony was also held, with several of the band members recognised for their performance in the programme throughout the year. Those who were awarded included:
Band Member of the Year 2014 - Khary Legg (trumpet)
Conductor's Award for Excellence 2014 - Junior Osbourne (trumpet)
Band Support Award 2014 - Carolyn Clarke, principal of Providence Heights Infant School
Primary School Academic Award 2014 - Dymani Christie (clarinet)
High School Academic Award 2014 - Patriana Stephenson (flute)
Most Disciplined Band Member 2014 - Andre Wisdom (percussion)
Most Improved Band Member 2014 - Travis Fearon (clarinet)
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music High Scorer Award - Dremoy Corbin (trumpet).