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Alpha Boys' Home gets Royal Philharmonic treat

Published:Monday | September 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Andrew Williams of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (left) shows Donhue Johnson from Alpha Boys' Home how to hold the violin.
Members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play a few popular pieces during their visit at the Alpha Boys' Home recently. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

The young men at the Alpha Boys' Home got quite a treat on Friday when they were paid a visit by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO).

The session started with the RPO playing the British anthem and then the Alpha Boys' Band adding to the proceedings, with Jamaica's national anthem, as well as the Alpha Boys' song. Afterwards, they were treated to some smooth music from the orchestra.

"It is so good that you can play all day," said the director for the Alpha Boys' Band, who had no qualms requesting song after song.

The RPO workshop leader, James Redwood, also got the boys involved, as he had them singing the Negro spiritual song Wade In The Water. Redwood was quite passionate and expressive as he sang and conducted.

Following an announcement that the Charles Hyatt Foundation would be sponsoring three of the boys to see the orchestra perform at the Holy Trinity Cathedral that was scheduled to take place on Saturday, the Alpha Boys' Band, accompanied by the Omega Element Band, thrilled the audience to mento and ska songs. As they played songs like Carry Go Bring Come and Rivers Of Babylon, some persons in the audience danced.

Digicel Foundation Executive Director Samantha Chantrelle was extremely pleased with how the visit went.

"We heard that there was space on their trip. We wanted to show them (boys) that there is an entire industry around music that you can make a career. Just for them to get a sense of what the possibilities are," she said, noting that the event was organised by the foundation.

"I have goosebumps. Looking at the kids' faces, you can see that it is touching them like it is touching me. It has been a really good day for them."

The experience was also a worthwhile one for Sister Susan Frazer, director at the school.

"They are used to hearing brass bands, not stringed instruments, so this has been a really amazing experience for them. The orchestra has been phenomenal, trying to involve the children in what's happening. This has been a very unique and unbelievable experience. They are all thrilled," she told The Gleaner.