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Participants with their certificates

Over a period of five weeks starting on 8 August, Caribbean Grains Laborie Steel Pan hosted an intensive education programme for the benefit of its junior players. The brainchild of Shaniya Scott, Senior Band Member and Seconds Player, this programme was designed to provide music education to these young players, and to give them the opportunity to participate in a meaningful and enjoyable activity during their school vacation.

“In fact, this programme was quite special because it benefited both the juniors who came to learn and the seniors who taught them”, says Band Leader Quill Barthelmy. “The seniors were always ready to teach, every senior took three or four juniors under her or his wings, it was just amazing watching them work. So, in the end, both groups came out of the workshop with something, the seniors showing great maturity, professionalism, and patience. This is self-development at its highest. I am also very grateful to the parents who got involved and supported the programme, this is the spirit of Laborie Steel Pan!”

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In this programme, the young players learned three songs: Savannah Grass, Guantanamera and Bob Marley’s Who The Cap Fit. “We were able to achieve all this in a month, the juniors definitely excelled during this time”, says the Band Vice-Captain Annalisa JnPanel. “Not to mention the amount of support we got from the seniors who were available during this time. They worked tirelessly to ensure that every junior was taught new skills and techniques to the best of their ability. Having seniors present made the work a lot lighter because we were able to teach and move along quite smoothly having everyone there to look out for their sections”.

Pictured left: Coordinator of Summer Programme Shaniya Scott and Band Captain Christopher Chicot. 

The programme ended with a closing ceremony during which junior and senior members Jaydah  Etienne, Davain St.Brice, Aiden Monrose, Naithan Chicot and Leilani George shared their impressions about the programme. ‘”We struggled  at times to get the juniors to play the songs right”, recalls Shaniya Scott, “but the end results were phenomenal. Everyone worked extremely hard and persevered throughout the weeks. We have seen a great deal of improvement from the juniors thanks to the help provided by the seniors who mentored them.” Other senior players who helped manage the programme and were present at the ceremony include Avonelle Charles, Leona Edward, Kurshan Renee, Sachin Charles, Chris Francis, Jervon Jn Pierre and Kissana Renard.

Will this programme be continued? “Oh yes!”, says Scott, “this is just the first of many programmes to come.” Indeed, since the Laborie Steel Pan was established in 2006, there has always been an emphasis on the youth. Having summer camps and other holiday programmes that target the very young is a good way to build their musical skills while keeping them engaged in a positive group activity. In his remarks at the closing ceremony, Band Captain Christopher Chicot reminded the audience that the band’s motto is “Youth Empowerment Through Music”. This summer programme is another demonstration of Caribbean Grains Laborie Steel Pan’s commitment to the development of young people in the community.

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The senior players who delivered the programme, with Band Leader Quill Barthelmy