ALPHA BOYS' & OMEGA ELEMENT BANDS MADE SWEET MUSIC WITH THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Digicel Foundation organised visit at the Alpha Boys Home
Kingston, Jamaica – September 14 2012: Today the tables were turned on the members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), as they were treated to musical education in Mento and Ska Classics during their workshop at the Alpha Boys’ School. This workshop with a difference, was organised by the Digicel Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Digicel, who is one of the sponsors of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s visit to Jamaica
The day’s proceedings began with the RPO and Alpha Boys’ Band playing their respective anthems. This was followed by a performance of classic pieces by Piazzolla, Vivaldi and Holst by the RPO before they were treated to Classics such as Carry mi Ackee, Eastern Standard Time, and By the rivers of Babylon by the Alpha students and past students who are members of the Omega Element Band. Members of the audience surged to their feet at the urging of Band Master, Winston ‘Sparrow’ Martin, during the performance, singing along while teaching the PRO members how to ‘Ska’. Much to the delight of everyone present, the PRO returned the favour playing a few British folk songs.
The musical performances were interspaced with messages from the Director of Alpha Boys’ School, Sister Susan Frazer, who expressed her pleasure at the visit noting that, "Alpha's music program has always enjoyed a special place in not just Alpha's community but Jamaica's history as well. Alpha is grateful for this special opportunity to introduce new cultural and musical horizons to the boys in our care. We give thanks to Digicel Foundation for its support, the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica for its vision and we hope to continue the relationship long into the future."
Following the performances, RPO workshop leader, James Redwood, lead the entire school through an interactive workshop culminating with the members of the PRO, the Alpha Boys’ Band, and the Omega Element Band playing together with the vocal support of the Alpha Boys school body.
The Alpha Boy’s School and Omega Element Band are both recent beneficiaries of the Digicel Foundation. Samantha Chantrelle, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation, notes “One of the main areas of focus for the Digicel Foundation is Community Empowerment; we see music as yet another way to empower our youths and inspire them to be extraordinary in everything they do”. She also highlighted the fact that Digicel and Digicel Foundation have long been supporters of Jamaica’s rich culture, of which music is a key component adding that “We are really happy to be able to facilitate the interaction between this world renowned orchestra and the boys of these great musical institutions”.
Following the workshop Ruth Currie, Head of Community and Education for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra notes that, “The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra do a lot of outreach work in the UK and internationally but this project with the Alpha Boys’ has been extra special because they have so little to give, but they have given us so much energy and musicality. I’ve never seen our musicians so inspired”.