The Anglican Church of the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago hosted its official ceremony for the launch of its first music school on July 24 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain. The creative and innovative idea of a music school was initiated by Keisha Baisden who has specialised in the area of music therapy, from the University of Miami, Florida. Baisden had several meetings for approval of this school and was successful in attaining support and eventual approval by Anglican Bishop Calvin Bess who formally launched the music school. Bishop Bess said the idea would produce something of great value to the Diocese, not only from an Anglican sense but for the international Diocese as well.
The mission of the music is to develop the musical skills and talents of young people, allowing them to be more expressive and to explore their talents, as well as promoting a deep sense of Christian social responsibility. The school's goals include educating and training young people in music theory, vocal and instrumental techniques as well as the nurturing of the overall development of local youth. The school also intends establishing and implementing an outreach programme, targeting young people in the wider community. Bishops Claude Berkley and Calvin Bess have encouraged, supported and advises rationale of initiating the project and look forward to high quality and vibrancy in the music which complements worship. In stating that music is a powerful avenue to value the musical heritage of our nation, Bess said it was also the centre of excellence where everyone could feel involved. This was also demonstrated in the celebration of the launch, held outside the church, and was a major highlight to mark this special occasion.
There were sounds of pan by the St Margaret Boys' AC Steel Orchestra, singing performances by the Eastern Performing Arts Fraternity and African drumming by the Trinity Drumming Ensemble. The celebration continued inside the Cathedral, where Bishop Berkley welcomed his guests, followed by an opera performance by Anne Fridal. Richard Owen read the committee report, and spoke about this pilot project, identifying challenges, rectifying any issues and making the necessary adjustments to the programme. He also stressed on the promotion of high quality praises to God via music. Owen believes that music, a powerful medium to Christ, has power, while transforming and enriching human lives for the betterment of the youths of tomorrow but most all for today. Guests were also entertained with a religious singing performance by John Thomas and violinist Keisha Baisden.
The evening's feature address was delivered by professor Dr Ian Robertson, academic director of the University of the West Indies. His idea is for the promotion of higher quality of worship, according to fundamental rules and understanding of the Christian church and responsibilities for bringing out the best for the benefit of all. Bishop Bess then declared the formal launch of its music school. The school opens classes next month, with tuition taking place in six different regions. Tuition will be for string instruments, keyboard instruments and steelpan. The youths of this music fraternity showed their style not only in their musical entertainment for the launch but also in the decor of the church. Even the older attendees were overheard commenting on the beautiful disco lights and fog machine, adding that it brought a burst of energy in the church. This new unique approach, some said, was a sign of new blood that is welcome and admired. The elders showered their blessings on the younger generation, looking forward to even more excitement and celebration of its future musical success via their great skills and talents.