St. John’s Antigua- Coordinators for Island Academy’s “Music for Life” fundraising concert believe that music education and the arts warrant as much attention as other academic subject areas.
Mitzi Allen, one of the organisers of the event, said, “The arts are a really big part of Island Academy’s academic programme. ‘Music for Life’ is an extension of that…”
She added, “What we want to do with this concert is to expose our students as well as young aspiring musicians to the possibilities and various genres of music.
Panist Aubrey Lacu Samuel, who forms part of the concert line-up, said he is pleased with the efforts being made to make music education a more important element in schools.
“I’m happy that now it’s changing because in my time, they didn’t have that,” he said.
Barbadian saxophonist Auturo Tappin, who’s headlining the event, also endorsed music in the schools.
“A lot of people don’t have access to the information and a lot of great talented young musicians might have to end up playing by ear, which is not a bad thing,” he said. “It may take them a little longer to develop their craft or their skill to the highest level.”
Tappin encourages persons to remain loyal to their interest and craft despite initial challenges.
“I think anyone who picks up an instrument and tries to learn how to play an instrument, you get two lessons: apart from learning how to play a song, the other lesson you get is you very quickly understand that here is something I am clueless about that I cannot even begin to get a note out of this instrument… but if you stick at it with repetition and constant practice, very soon, you’ll realise [from] that violin or that recorder, I’m actually playing Mary had a Little Lamb and I’m actually playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and on to something else,” Tappin said.
Allen, however, believes that more still needs to be done before music education and the arts can become more prominent in the nation’s education system.
“It needs to be a priority in general, not just in Antigua & Barbuda but across the Caribbean,” she said.
Allen expressed hopes that the music concert would set in motion plans to make it an annual affair.
“Personally, I really do believe this is probably a great jumping off point for us in terms of having an event that people could look forward to every year that highlights the best of what the Caribbean has to offer, and I believe ‘Music for Life’ can be that kind of concert and also benefit the school and scholarship programme,” Allen said.
Supporting the scholarship programme and the effort to promote music education in schools are those sponsoring the event: AS Bryden, OBSERVER Media Group, ABS Radio and TV, NMI Promotions, Sugar Ridge and many others have all agreed to aid the school in staging tomorrow’s event.
“We’re happy that people came on board because it’s a fundraiser…” Allen said. “Unlike the other events, this is an ongoing thing for us.”
The concert will showcase the Island Academy School Band and proceeds will go to the Island Academy Scholarship Programme. Allen added that donations are welcome from anyone who wishes to support the efforts of the institution.
Showtime for the Music For Life concert at Sugar Ridge is at 7:30 pm.