Henry, Gleaner Writer
"Twenty of you will be chosen to perform for the British High
Commission tonight." That was the sentence which excited the students at
the creative workshop put on by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Wednesday.
The students, who hailed from schools in the Corporate Area, including
Kingston College, St George's College, Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha),
Kingsway High and Denham Town Primary, could hardly contain their excitement.
James Redwood, creative workshop coordinator and member of the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, engaged the students in a series of warm-up exercises
which taught them to recognise pitch and range.
The workshop, organised by The National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica
(NYOJ), was filled with students proudly brandishing violins, cellos and
trumpets, instruments which only lost the attention of the youngsters when
According to Michelle Braham, programme coordinator at the NYOJ, one
objective of the workshop, and ultimately her organisation, was to build social
cohesiveness, develop self-esteem and self-awareness in participants.
"The programme exposes them to life's alternatives and brings
structure to their lives. They are exposed to so many core values while being
here. They have to be punctual, be consistent and there's a big compassion and
teamwork aspect as well," she said.
The NYOJ is a non-profit, non-government organisation engaged in the
development of youth orchestras in Jamaica. It currently has two centres, one
at St Andrew Technical High School and the other at Kingston College's
According to Redwood, the children were good to work with.
"They were inspirational. They were open, creative and they were
really exciting to be around. It's a fantastic cultural exchange to be making
music with them," Redwoood told The Gleaner.