Mon | Jan 27, 2020

EJC lights a musical candle - Instruments 4 Change launched

Published:Monday | January 6, 2020 | 12:23 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Gamel Grant
Jewel Osbourne
Pastor Nathan addressing the crowd with Adiese Jonas Murphy at right.
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Declaring that “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness,” Eric Nathan, president of the East Jamaica Conference (EJC) of Seventh-day Adventists, officially launched Instruments 4 Change, the conference’s ambitious crime-reduction initiative which incorporates music at its core.

Demonstrating the conference’s commitment to being instruments for change, and heeding Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ appeal for public-private partnership, Nathan told the gathering at National Heroes Park last week, “We might not be able to do a great thing, but in our own little way we believe that what we can do, we should do.” That ‘little’ includes using music to nurture the hearts, souls, and minds of youngster who are at risk.

Superintendent Jones-Williams from Kingston Central lauded the efforts of the EJC and noted that her team “appreciates any effort to keep at-risk young men in line”.

Vice-President for Academic Administration, Northern Caribbean (NCU) University, Dr Vivienne Quarrie congratulated the EJC for leading out in this mission.

Quite appropriately, music was the centrepiece of the launch event, which saw some of the church’s best voices taking the stage to show their support for the venture. A couple who could be called the sweethearts of gospel, Carey and Sharilyn Sayles, got the programme off to a great – albeit late – start, with Wonderful, Merciful Saviour and set the tone for what was an inspiring musical showcase.

Signature songs

Jewel Osbourne did her signature songs Jesus Has Done the Rest and Keeper, and without missing a beat, Gamel Grant, Hilkiah Jones, Kencot Youth Choir, Humble and the EJC Mass Choir all ministered in song. Of note, too, were the two all-male a cappella groups, who used their vocals not only to sing, but also as actual instruments for change.

Music coordinator in the EJC, Adiese Jonas Murphy, in between performing her musical duties, shared a timeline for the roll out of the programme. A band of music education volunteers, comprising persons from NCU, the Jamaica School of Music, and trained musicians from within the conference are being registered as tutors for the programme.

Between January and May 2020, church members, and all who are interested, will be asked to donate musical instruments in good condition or give a donation which will be used to purchase equipment.

Nathan informed that persons who donate musical equipment will be asked to inscribe their names on the instruments.

The Good Samaritan Inn, the Kingsway Prep & High School in St Andrew, and the Miramar Prep School in Morant Bay, St Thomas, have all been earmarked as schools of music centres. Music classes will start in all three locations by June of this year.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com