Within hours of the start of the Diocesan Summer Music Camp at Christ Church, Vineyard Town, on July 11, 8 year-old Matthew Piper-Bennett complained that he was bored and wanted to go home. At the end of the first week, he was playing Alleluia on the organ at his home church – St. David’s, Yallahs; and urging the organisers to add another week to the programme which was conducted over a fortnight.
The brainchild of Lord Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory, the Summer Music Camp was introduced in 2014; and it has grown, both in numbers and the enthusiasm of participants, some of whom have attended in all three years. From 18 students in the first year, registration for the Camp, which ended on July 22, increased to 50, including a five year-old camper and a visitor from Canada. The youngsters represented some 14 churches in the Corporate Area, as well as the Church of the Holy Spirit, Portmore; St. Dorothy’s Church, Old Harbour; St. David’s Church, Yallahs; All Saints’ Church – The Abbey, St. Thomas; St. Mark’s Church – Boston, Portland; and Church of the Transfiguration – Mount Grace, Westmoreland.
Under the expert guidance of Camp Director, Mr. Andre Adman – a tutor at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts – and his equally qualified Assistant, Miss Stephanie Williams, supported by other specialists, campers learned the basics of choral singing, sight-reading, and to play multiple instruments.
The Closing Concert allowed the eager youngsters to showcase their rich talent and skills on drums and percussion instruments, the recorder and steel pan; as well as guitar and the keyboard, which was added this year. The items featured church music in mento, soca, dancehall and classical genres. And soloists, Ahjnique Williams, Teisha Hall, Keira Brown and Justin Nicholson, enriched the choral presentations which opened and brought the curtain down on an afternoon of quality entertainment for an appreciative audience of parents and friends.
A satisfied parent, Miss Sonia Nicholson, mother of Justin, noted that participants had learned “with value-added,” as the camp improved their interpersonal skills and fostered discipline in their approach to practice and their individual assignments. “The child I had last year is a different child. His confidence level has soared 360 degrees and this will help his academic performance. I am also happy that the camp is church-based, as the opportunity to pray and worship is valuable in today’s society which has many distractions,” she said.
Special awardees included: Justin Nicholson, Most Improved Camper; Keira Brown, Outstanding Camper – first year; Ajhnique Williams and Kofi Nightingale, Outstanding Performers; Le’Andre Saddler, Most Congenial Camper; and Haji Dixon, Most Punctual Camper.