April Rose Fale-Knight (St. Thomas Source) reports that a series of musical events slated for January 22-26, 2013, will recognize Virgin Islands musicians and raise funds for musical education in the territory, as Sens. Shawn-Michael Malone and Clifford Graham have announced. The “Grand Cultural Musical Affair” events will be: St. Croix Educational Workshop, January 22; St. Thomas Educational Workshop, January 23; Sponsors’ VIP Welcome Reception, January 24, Emerald Beach Resort, 5:30-8:00pm; Awards Dinner Banquet, January 23, Sugar Bay Resort, 6:30pm; and the Jazz Concert, January 26, Reichhold Center for the Arts. Well-known jazz musician Wynton Marsalis will match funds meant to buy musical instruments and equipment to aid in teaching music in schools.
“A Grand Cultural Musical Affair” will include educational workshops and will culminate in a jazz concert featuring renowned drummer and V.I. native Dion Parsons [shown above] and the 21st Century Band. The announcement came shortly after Malone and Graham passed a resolution during the Nov. 19 session that honored Parsons and his band. According to Malone, the event will recognize the achievements of Virgin Islanders who have made a name for themselves in the music industry.
“Too often, we don’t recognize the work of world-class musicians who hail right here from the Virgin Islands,” the Senate president said. Popular reggae musicians, said Malone, are not only coming out of Jamaica, but are also nurtured in the Virgin Islands. Artists such as Pressure Buss Pipe, the Midnite band out of St. Croix, and Niyorah are recognized by reggae-lovers, he said. Musician Cruz Rock is also a favorite in Germany.
Another aim of the event is to raise funds for buying instruments and equipment that can be used to teach music in the territory’s public schools. “Ultimately, this is all about the students and giving them the best opportunity possible,” said Malone, adding that students do not need to have a musical career in mind to benefit from learning how to play a musical instrument.
Studies show, he said, that students participating in musical extracurricular activities tend to have better grades and critical thinking skills, and are less likely to develop anti-social behavior or engage in drugs.
Graham said that Parson’s “Mentoring through The Arts” program is helping make music a part of the students’ school life. The program’s workshops, master classes, and opportunities to become part of the V.I. Youth Ensemble, a select group of talented students in the territory, provides an experience that goes beyond the school bands and choirs to which students normally have access.
[. . .] Graham emphasized that out of the seven members of the 21st Century Band, five are from the Virgin Islands, all of whom went through the public school system. Virgin Islands students can also follow in their footsteps with adequate and properly equipped musical education, according to Graham.
[. . .] The fundraising in “A Grand Cultural Musical Affair” occurs mainly through two events in the series: the Awards Dinner Banquet and the Reichhold jazz concert. The amount the events manage to raise will be matched by jazz great Wynton Marsalis, according to Malone.
Further information about the event or becoming a sponsor can be obtained by calling Rochelle Corneiro at 1-340-693-3599 or Delvin Duggins at 1-340-693-3615.