THE launch of a youth chorale at L’Abayee last Friday has sounded a strong note for the L’Abayee Primary School and SDA Church and for the development of the growth and spread of gospel in Saint Lucia. This is due in no small part to the efforts of Gospel songstress ShirleyAnn Cyril Mayers and Pamela Leon-Modeste. Vision, which is the name of the youth Chorale, comprises youth members of the L’Abayee community with an interest in gospel music or have the ability to sing. The launch concert last Friday was the culmination of 10 months of preparatory work and sets the twenty-four youngsters on their way to impacting their community through gospel ministry and community service.
According to Cyril-Mayers, the idea was born from the realization that effort must be put into developing a sense of purpose and building the self-esteem in the primary school children before they go to secondary school, where peer pressure can sidetrack those who lack the family support to realize their aims in life.
Together, Leon-Modeste, a teacher and director of the school choir, and Cyril-Mayers, who is just completing her certification with Berklee College in vocal training (of individuals and choirs), embarked on a recruitment drive to form a group which would use gospel as their vehicle of creative and spiritual expression, and use community service as their vocational philosophy.
“Our children are under pressure in a way our generation was not. I know what the gospel has done for my sense of who I am and what I stand for; Pamela and I believe that it is our duty to help empower youth to be able to deal with the challenges of life and learn to be a source of light in their communities,” said Cyril-Mayers.
A very high standard was in evidence from the launch production and from the various male and female soloists. Based on the feedback from videos which have been launched online, audiences are enthusiastic about the potential of the Vision Chorale. Cyril Mayers says the intention is continue to host public events, and more importantly, to visit shut-in groups to share the gospel in song and music.
The L’Abayee SDA church has formally recognized the work of Shirley-Ann Cyril Mayers and Pamela Leon-Modeste with young people, which, in the words of Pastor DolstonMorian, is a critical intervention in precious lives at a critical point in their development. According to Pastor Morian, “in between the hours of formal musical training is the work of mothering, counselling and encouraging which contributes equally to character-building and personal empowerment that makes all the difference in the quality of the human being”.