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Inside the Event | Alpha celebrates 137 years with dance

Published:Thursday | May 25, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Welton Irie
Ken Boothe

Although the Alpha Institute offers a range of training options to its students, including landscape and barber programmes, it is especially famed for music. So it is natural that the South Camp Road institution will celebrate its 137th anniversary with a dance, which takes place at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Friday, June 2.

While any event involving Jamaican popular music has a virtually endless repertoire to choose from, with its outstanding graduates, Alpha is able to present finely focused selections that draw on its storied history. There will be a band and a sound system at the event, and the former will present songs with an Alpha connection.


Showcasing Alpha talent


Dr Joshua Chamberlain, general manager, Alpha Boys School Radio, told The Gleaner that it will not be a band of current students, but graduates, as "this is about showcasing what Alpha students can do after they leave Alpha". They are going to play songs that have an Alpha connection, including tracks by Johnny Osbourne, Yellowman, Don Drummond and Leroy Smart.

Performing live will be Ken Boothe, who, though not an Alpha graduate, has extensive experience working with musicians who were trained there.

DJ Welton Irtie, playing recorded music, is another connection, this time to Rae Town Old Hits, where Klassique is the resident sound system. Chamberlain pointed out that there is another connection, a physical one, as the Rae Town Sunday session is now held at Sabina Park.

There will be an additional Rae Town presence in a number of personalities from Rae Town, for the dance at the Spanish Court Hotel .

As a fundraising event, the dance is already off to a good start, as there are companies that have bought tickets in bulk for their team members to attend. And Chamberlain emphasises that the end is expected to live up to its name.

"It is an opportunity for people to get involved and be a part of Alpha's development ... . The dance floor will be warm and inviting," he said.