RPO visits Alpha Boys Home

Cecelia Campbell-Livingston

Saturday, September 15, 2012    

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CLASSICAL music met mento and ska yesterday at the Alpha Boys Home and it was quite a treat.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) visited the school courtesy of the Digicel Foundation and National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica.

Alpha students enjoyed RPO's soothing melodies which included versions of Winter, composed by Piazzolla and Vivaldi. There was enthusiastic applause after each piece.

Renardo Reid, a member of the Alpha Boys Band, was among the impressed.

"It was really good. I have learned that in life if you take music seriously you can be successful," he said.

But the morning was not just about the RPO. They also got a musical thrill, courtesy of the Alpha Boys Band.

"You can't listen to ska and be seated. This music takes action!" bandleader Winston 'Sparrow' Martin exclaimed.

They performed Justin Hinds and the Dominoes' ska classic Carry Go Bring Come and the Melodians' spiritual By The Rivers of Babylon.

However, it was Eastern Standard Time, the ska instrumental composed by trombonist Don Drummond -- a product of Alpha -- that brought the house down.

Workshop manager James Redwood introduced students to standards like the Negro spiritual Wade In The Water. They sang as the RPO performed the music.

Charles Hyatt Jnr of the Charles Hyatt Foundation addressed the gathering.

"The Charles Hyatt Foundation's goal is to help musicians get support to be that person they want to be. It's amazing to be part of this experience," he said.

The Digicel Foundation's executive director, Samantha Chandrelle, said the organisation could not pass up the opportunity for the RPO to visit Alpha which has produced some of Jamaica's outstanding musicians.

"We have a relationship with Alpha and wanted the boys to have this experience that they can make a career in music," she said.



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