October 26, 2009

The OAS/FEMCIDI Orchestra Program for Youth at Risk was launched with a moving concert at Courtleigh Auditorium

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Jamaica: The Gleaner

According to a local Jamaican trainer, Ann McNamee, “this has been one of the most successful musical adventures I've ever been involved in and I’ve been involved in a lot over the years. It has not been easy with all the challenges, but the over 80 dedicated musicians playing today feel a great sense of accomplishment that no money could ever buy”.

The concert in Jamaica included a wide range of music -exciting rhythmic Latin pieces, Vivaldi- “with our youth playing the soli parts and compositions by our own Peter Ashbourne and Jon Williams and a choir let by an incredible Venezuelan conductor. We have a lot to be proud about!”

According to businessman Nigel Clarke, chairman of the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica (NYOJ), “the concert was absolutely fantastic...the audience was completely 'blown away'... and this made the launch an overwhelming success.”

The NYOJ was created as part of an OAS initiative to launch and operate orchestras using the El Sistema methodology from Venezuela in communities and schools that would otherwise be unable to do this on their own. Colombia and Venezuela united forces to form a bi-national team of trainers that have led the launching of this Program coordinated by the OAS Department of Cultural Affairs.

Jamaica is the second of three orchestral and choral training centers that will offer music instruction customized for youths at risk in urban communities. The Program was successfully launched in Castries, St. Lucia on Oct 11, 2009 and will be launched on Nov 1, 2009 in Port-au-Prince.

Primary benefits attributed to this Program include improvements in academic achievement and in the psychological development and reducing the rate of youth violence and school dropout rates.

The OAS/FEMCIDI Orchestra Program for Youth at Risk was launched with a moving concert at Courtleigh Auditorium.

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.