From Wednesday, May 8th to Saturday May 11th, 2019, Events Company of St Lucia Inc. (ECSL) in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center hosted a series of music workshops at the Golden Palm Conference Center in Rodney Bay, as part of an ongoing student outreach programme initiated by ECSL in 2017.
To celebrate the culmination of the 2019 Saint Lucia Jazz Music Programme, Events Saint Lucia and Doug Thiel, employee of longstanding sponsor of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival Steinway and Sons, have partnered to gift participants in the programme with two musical instruments, a Jean Paul Acoustic Electric Guitar 40” complete with a Jupiter Classic Guitar Bag and a Roland Fantom X-8, 88 note Weighted Key, Action Keyboard with a Travel Case.
The recipients of these gifts are the Marchand Sacred Heart Youth Orchestra and the St Lucia School of Music respectively, both entities having participated fully in the 2019 Saint Lucia Jazz Music Education Programme.
The four part music education series was hosted by four of the headline acts who performed at the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival this year. Etienne Charles who is Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University hosted day one on the topics, The Role the Caribbean had in the Birth of Jazz and The Links Between the Caribbean and Jazz. On day two, six-time GRAMMY®-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride addressed a school of seventy music students. Using the St Lucia School of Music ensemble as a case study, Christian McBride coached the class providing valuable technical guidance on ‘How to Improve Ensemble Cohesion.’ He also focused on ‘How to Improve Solo Work’ and ‘Musicianship’ as a solo artiste and in groups.
On day three of the Programme, Grammy and Emmy nominated bassist, singer, composer Russell Hall along with his band, served up a spirited music master class that focused on the work of Thelonious Monk, one of the most recorded Jazz composers of all time and the inspiration behind Russell Hall’s music. Hall along with his vocalist South African VuyolwethuSotashe also carried out a vocal master class, which left them astounded by the local vocal talents who participated. The ages of the participants ranged from eight years to thirty-five years old.
Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer, and bandleader Patrick Bartley, Jr presented the final day of the music education programme addressing the topic, ‘What is Jazz…The Origin, History and Evolution of Jazz’. This in-depth education music master class was a resounding success and provided a pitch perfect end to the Saint Lucia Jazz Music Education Programme for 2019.
The Marchand Sacred Heart Youth Orchestra and the St. Lucia School of Music are also being recognized for their participation in Saint Lucia Jazz in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, each having appeared at major venues for this year’s festival.
Sen. Fortuna Belrose Minister in the Ministry of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries with responsibility for Culture and Creative Industries was on hand to assist with the presentation.
“We are thrilled that Events Company of St Lucia has spearheaded this initiative which is in line with one of our ministry’s core objectives to develop the creative arts, jazz music being one such focal point,” she said. “Our aim is to get the youth and the public excited about jazz by creating opportunities to showcase them and reward them for their efforts. We congratulate the St Lucia School of Music and the Marchand Sacred Heart Youth Orchestra on their achievements.”
Thomas Leonce, Chief Executive Officer of Events St Lucia commented, “We encourage the young musicians to avail themselves of the opportunities that exist throughout the year and at various national events such as Saint Lucia Jazz. These opportunities are limitless as they now extend beyond our shores through partnerships with world class music bodies like Jazz at Lincoln Center”.
“We commend the Marchand Sacred Heart Youth Orchestra and the St Lucia School of Music for an excellent job at their respective performances for West Coast Jazz and IGY Rodney Bay Marina and we look forward to showcasing them again and others who rise to the occasion,” he concluded.