Not even the inclement weather last Friday could dampen the sweet melodious sounds which emanated from the birdsong Panyard as students of the GTECH sponsored birdsong Academy held their Open Mic event at the birdsong Steel Orchestra panyard in Tunapuna.The students who took part in the five-week long camp, which typically runs from the month of July to the first week of August during the school vacation each year, took to the stage and performed at the Open Mic to their friends, family and curious passersby who gathered to take in the sterling performances. The Open Mic event is where students perform demonstrating their own musical skills.The academy which boasts some 124 students was established in 2004 as a Music Literacy and Education Programme for children between 12-18 years. The birdsong Academy has achieved outstanding success and wide acclaim.GTECH has provided significant financial support to the birdsong Academy and since 2010 has sponsored the five-week musical education programme during the school holiday period.Each student learns to play the steelpan and one other instrument-the clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, bass guitar, drums to name but a few. In addition, students learn the history of music, music appreciation, sight reading, leadership and personal development.
According to 18-year-old saxophonist Jereel Samuel, who has attended the camp for the past six years "the camp is really good as it keeps the youth off the block and out of trouble." He went on to say that prior to joining the birdsong Academy he never played any instrument but has since gone on to win the 2010 Trinidad & Tobago Music Festival Saxophone Solo at the Queen's Hall in Port-of-Spain.Another enthusiastic participant of the camp, Katherine De Freitas, said, "the programme also helps to promote other conventional instruments besides the pan." Katherine, 13-years-old, who plays the clarinet and piano says she hopes to someday become a musician on Broadway.GTECH expressed pride in taking the leading role in its continued quest to uplift the youth of T&T in its ongoing drive to bring musical innovation and excellence to the students of the birdsong Academy.The musical education programme culminated in a concert put on by the students at Queen's Hall yesterday evening.