DECEMBER 21, 2009

Making music powered by Lucelec

Saint Lucia: St. Lucia Star

by St. Lucia Star reporter

The Marchand Youth Orchestra held its first concert on Friday, December 11. The concert, held in conjunction with the St Lucia School of Music’s end of term String Department Concert, marked the beginning of a potentially life-changing project for young people from the Marchand community.

At this time over sixty young people from the Marchand are participating in this special program to develop a youth orchestra, choir and centre for teaching orchestra music to young people in that community.

The project provides after-school classes in orchestra and choir at the Marchand Combined and the Entrepot Secondary School, for two hours a day, up to four days a week. Tutoring is being provided by internationally trained Saint Lucian instructors from the School of Music. The program is based upon the experiences of Latin American countries tackling youth violence through alternative methods and is designed to reduce violent behaviour by giving young people something to do with their spare time by taking advantage of their strengths and talents. The program complements regular education with musical training to stimulate intellectual and cultural growth, contribute to instilling civic values, increase school retention levels, and create future employment opportunities.

The three-year program is part of an OAS Orchestra Program for Youth at Risk in the Caribbean and is being implemented in St Lucia, Haiti and Jamaica. Several agencies including the St Lucia School of Music, the ministry of social transformation, the ministry of education and Lucelec are providing support for the St Lucia leg of the project.

Lucelec has contributed over thirty thousand dollars (EC$30,000) to the first year of the project. Speaking at Friday’s concert Lucelec corporate communications manager Roger Joseph said the power company was supporting the project because of its capacity for social inclusion and instilling civic values, so critical for peace and the improvement of the human condition.

“Some of Lucelec’s most important investments are in the young people of Saint Lucia. We see in this orchestra the next great musician, cellist or composer. We recognize that talent is a great equalizer, and is not conditional upon social or economic circumstances. However, opportunities to explore talent may be denied to the more vulnerable among us. And that’s what our support for this project is about—providing young people with opportunities to achieve excellence; to inspire their minds and to help our nation’s young people explore the limitless possibilities of the future,” said Joseph.

The St Lucia School of Music is excited about the project. According to director John Bailey, Friday’s performance by the Marchand Orchestra was thrilling, not only for the students, but for the instructors as well.

“Just to observe the pride of accomplishment on the faces of these young people was a joy. They did very well, considering that they have only been doing this for about one month,” said Bailey.

“There is a lot of promise in this project and we want to ensure its success, which will be a triumph for the young people who have opted to do something different, a triumph for the Marchand community and a triumph for St Lucia,” he added.

Friday’s concert held at the St Joseph’s Convent auditorium was very well attended. It was the first in what will be a series of regular community concerts to encourage exchanges between the students and the community and provide opportunities for the budding musicians to display their talents.

National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica empowering lives one at a time

Last Friday’s musical concert was the first in a series of community concerts.


Haiti Relief Efforts:
Rebuilding Sainte Trinité

The Youth Orchestra Program in Haiti experienced a major setback when the Program’s host school, the Ecole de Musique Sainte Trinité, was destroyed during the 2010 earthquake. 

Since the OASIS program started, Sainte Trinité served as a venue for the disadvantaged youths of Bel-Air. If we put our efforts together we can bring back the program and help rebuild the school.

› Click here to see what we are doing and to get involved.