Davina Henry, Gleaner Writer
"Twenty of you will be chosen to perform for the British High Commission tonight." That was the sentence which excited the students at the creative workshop put on by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Wednesday.
The students, who hailed from schools in the Corporate Area, including Kingston College, St George's College, Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha), Kingsway High and Denham Town Primary, could hardly contain their excitement.
James Redwood, creative workshop coordinator and member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, engaged the students in a series of warm-up exercises which taught them to recognise pitch and range.
The workshop, organised by The National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ), was filled with students proudly brandishing violins, cellos and trumpets, instruments which only lost the attention of the youngsters when Redwood spoke.
According to Michelle Braham, programme coordinator at the NYOJ, one objective of the workshop, and ultimately her organisation, was to build social cohesiveness, develop self-esteem and self-awareness in participants.
"The programme exposes them to life's alternatives and brings structure to their lives. They are exposed to so many core values while being here. They have to be punctual, be consistent and there's a big compassion and teamwork aspect as well," she said.
The NYOJ is a non-profit, non-government organisation engaged in the development of youth orchestras in Jamaica. It currently has two centres, one at St Andrew Technical High School and the other at Kingston College's Melbourne campus.
According to Redwood, the children were good to work with.
"They were inspirational. They were open, creative and they were really exciting to be around. It's a fantastic cultural exchange to be making music with them," Redwoood told The Gleaner.
Braham told The Gleaner Redwood was a phenomenal workshop leader and that having a musical background was fundamentally important for students.
"It's amazingly important. Through harnessing your creativity, you learn more about yourself. We're really a cohesive group that children can feel a part of. We aim to have longevity and be a continual force, expanding throughout Jamaica," she said.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, apart from hosting a number of workshops, are in the island for two performances, the second of which takes place tonight.
The first of the performances took place at the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester.
The event tonight takes place at Holy Trinity Cathedral, downtown Kingston, and begins at The Holy Trinity Cathedral on North Street in Kingston. Music begins to fill the air out at 7:30 p.m.
Photos By Rudolph Brown/Photographer