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Instruments 4 Change to connect youth with music - Adventists to launch music academy

Published:Sunday | December 22, 2019 | 12:41 AMYasmine Peru - Senior Sunday Gleaner Writer
President of East Jamaica Conference, Eric Nathan.
President of East Jamaica Conference, Eric Nathan.

The power of music is undeniable, and come December 29, the East Jamaica Conference (EJC) of Seventh-day Adventists will launch the Good Samaritan Inn School of Music, through the initiative, Instruments 4 Change. The goal is to engage at-risk young people in meaningful activities through music.

A direct response to Jamaica’s high crime rate, this programme, the organisation says, is inspired by a need to help rid the country of crime, one community at a time. According to the EJC, “As a church, we are deeply saddened by the escalating crime rate. We recognise that some of our youth are unemployed and are unemployable, so if we can reach these individuals through music, it will open greater opportunities to them.”

Actually, the name Instruments 4 Change is a charming musical play on words. The church, as a body, intends to be an effective instrument of change by literally teaching inner-city youth how to play a musical instrument.

Eric Nathan, president of the EJC, told The Gleaner at a function at Mandela Park on Thursday afternoon that his conference has already met with the Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, and other government officials to present this crime prevention strategy. The Government, he says, is on board.

The EJC explains that they have structured a certified musical education programme that will target unattached youth in and around the surrounding communities of Heroes Circle. This musical thrust is not surprising coming from a church that is known for its abundance of great singers. It was only recently that Reggae Grammy nominee 19-year-old Koffee hailed the Adventist church for their music programme, having been a beneficiary of it herself.

Precursor

“This event is a precursor to all that is to come,” a satisfied Nathan said of the mini concert at Mandela Park last Thursday, which also saw Adventist young people blanketing the Half-Way Tree area and praying with persons.

“We will be using our churches such as Trench Town, Regent Street, Macedonia, and Kencot as centres for music learning and it will be free of cost. What we are seeking is sponsors for musical instruments,” he said, adding, “We will be having a launch of the programme next week Sunday and we have invited the prime minister, the governor general and the leader of the opposition to be present.”

That event, which will be held at the Good Samaritan Inn, Geffrard Place, Heroes Circle, will see performances from heavyweight Seventh-day Adventist singers Carey and Sharilyn Sayles, Jewel Osbourne, all-male group Humble, Kencot Youth Choir, Gamel Grant, Hilkiah Jones and Karim Chang.

A passionate Nathan is confident that this programme is marked for success. “Bob Marley did music and that made him famous. He used the guitar as his instrument of choice, so we are going into the communities with this programme and saying to the youth, ‘all who want to learn how to play the guitar come over this side. All who want to learn the keyboard, go over that side’. We are grouping skilled people within our church to help in nation building and have already identified the many of the music teachers who will give their service in this initiative,” Nathan explained.