Youths from four schools in Georgetown and Region Three on Thursday graduated from the Republic Bank RightStart Pan Minors Music Literacy Programme, which they were urged to view as an “early milestone” on their musical journeys.
Now in its sixth year, the programme was focused on the development of technical competency of students and building capacity in steel band arranging. The students learnt practical skills, steel pan history and music theory from July 7th until July 23rd.
A total of 130 youths attended workshops that were held in regions Three, Four and Six under the guidance of six instructors. Six schools participated in the programme: National School of Music, The Bishops’ High School, West Demerara Secondary, Buxton Secondary, North Ruimveldt Multilateral and Berbice High School. Similar graduation ceremonies will be held for Buxton Secondary and Berbice High School.
Speaking at the graduation on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotel, Administrator of the National School of Music Andrew Tyndall praised the participants for their high level of commitment and commended their parents for insuring that they were punctual. He stated that the programme was designed to train and develop future steel pan producers.
Managing Director of Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited Richard Sammy reflected on the bank’s interest in Guyana’s cultural preservation and noted that of all the areas of cultural involvement, steel pan development was proven to be the most dynamic and rewarding.
In his feature address at the graduation, Education Minister Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine applauded Republic Bank for the programme, calling it an “incidental investment in human resource development.” He urged the participants to consider the programme as an early milestone in their musical path. He also stated that he cannot imagine a school without sports and music and reiterated his commitment to correct the absence of these activities in Guyanese schools.
Aliyah Anthony, one of this year’s participants, told Stabroek News that the programme was fun and informative and it made her want to learn more about the art form. Sarai Anthony, another participant, said she was every excited about the programme and noted that it helped advance her musical skills.