College president helps sponsor the group
After a rousing performance for the Rotary Club in December, the UCCI choir is looking forward to a new year.
“I can tell you that for the first time, our students, the choir, we sang publicly on December the 10th at the Rotary Preservation, and… I have people telling me now about that performance,” said UCCI President Roy Bodden.
Mr. Bodden was so confident in the choir’s positive influence, he helped out in another way.
“I am so serious about this, that I want to give one 10th of my salary to the development of this,” he said. “So the choir we have, I sponsor them every month.”
He said it is important to show the public what he is willing to do, not just what he says will do.
“When I go to the public, I don’t want people to say, ‘What are you doing? You’re begging, but what are you doing?’ I want to be able to say, ‘I’m not asking you, sir, for anything that I haven’t already done myself, of my own volition.’”
He said he wants the choir to continue to be a staple of the university.
“I tell them that this is not just for two months,” he said. “For the duration of my contract, a 10th of my salary must go towards this.”
Mr. Bodden also realises that using the arts could boost students’ performance in other ways.
“I wanted to introduce a programme, to build a department for music and the performing arts, because we, Caribbean people, are good at expressing ourselves through drama, music and dance,” he said. “And I want to transpose the confidence that they get from those performances into the more theoretical things.”
So far, the students have responded positively to the choir, said Mr. Bodden.
“These students are ready and raring to go, and the maestro…told me that the students said, ‘Now bring us the calculus and physics, because we can ace that too,’” he said. “That’s what I thought would happen, so now we have a choir, we’ve always had a steel band, and we have a dance troop now.”
But Mr. Bodden is not stopping there.
“And we’re developing an orchestra,” he said.