Tue | Jan 22, 2019

A classical Christmas gift - Youth orchestra performs at St Joseph's on Sunday

Published:Tuesday | November 28, 2017 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Interested students watch Jovielle Hayden, a member of National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ), as he performs.

The National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ) is preparing to host a community concert at the St Joseph's Teachers' College, near Cross Roads, St Andrew. Titled Musical Enlightenment, the event, set for December 3, is expected to feature approximately 200 students from the NYOJ's eight classical music training centres across the island.

Karen Prentice, executive director of the NYOJ, told The Gleaner that the concert is an opportunity for persons to become more exposed to classical music, and, as such, the event will be free and open to the public.

"Our community concerts are free because we want to expose the public to good-quality orchestra music," she said. "So for those who want to enjoy this music but are concerned about it being too expensive, don't worry. just come out and enjoy the concert. This is one of the only outlets in the island that brings together students from over 30 different schools together for one cause."

The event will showcase the NYOJ's senior orchestra and the advanced chamber groups, which, according to Prentice, have developed considerably over the years. "Our senior orchestra has got to be very good. They're not professionals yet, but they're definitely getting there. Some of the students in our senior orchestra have got so good that they are now getting solo gigs at different events, and that shows just how good they have become," she said.

"In addition to the senior orchestra, our instructors will also be performing at this event. Those selections are expected to be very good. So at the beginning of the concert, we will showcase our younger talent, and then towards the end we will have the senior orchestra and the chamber groups finishing things off," Prentice added.




By the time the concert rolls around, people will be in complete Christmas mode and so with that in mind, Prentice says that the groups performing at the concert have prepared Christmas carols. "We have never done a Christmas theme before, but this year, the students really wanted to do some Christmas stuff and so we are doing a bit of a Christmas theme. It should be very interactive and a lot of fun," she said. "The students have been rehearsing pretty much every day, and everything is coming together. We are going to have a bit of carolling, so the students are going to play some well-known Christmas carols, and we're going to engage the audience and have them sing along."

The event is expected to start at 4 p.m.

The NYOJ is a non-profit, non-government organisation driven by its mission to develop youth orchestras in Jamaica. Using classical music as a tool to inspire, empower, and enhance the lives of at-risk youth, the NYOJ has touched the lives of many young people since it began operation in 2009. Because the NYOJ is a non-profit, non-government organisation, its endeavours are self-funded. As such, donations towards the organisation will be accepted during the concert. The funds collected will go towards helping to fund the programme.