Wanted: Stringed instruments for gifted young musicians

Cellists Kayla David and Caleb Feare of George Town Primary enjoy their practice sessions.

The Cayman Arts Festival is seeking violins, violas and cellos for the “gifted and talented” musicians of its RBC Dominion Securities After-School Instrumental Music Programme.

The after-school lessons, which started in 2014, feature 10 tutors who support more than 200 young musicians learning to play orchestral instruments, such as violins. Participation has been steadily growing, resulting in the need for more instruments for the primary school students.

The program is held in all government primary schools in Grand Cayman.

Its participants showcase their skills at annual events such as the Cayman National Bank Christmas Concert and Cayman Arts Festival concerts.

Through the program, students are provided with free lessons and instruments.

Program coordinator Fran McConvey said the young musicians have demonstrated not only commitment, but also a gift and talent for instrument playing, which earned them a referral to the program.

The After-School Instrumental Music program is designed especially for young people with an aptitude for music who have been identified by their music teachers as musically “gifted and talented,” Ms. McConvey said.

From left, George Town Primary String musicians Amare Hamilton, 10, Kaciann Wilson, 11, and Rohanah Gonzales, 10, practice their violin skills at the afterschool program. - PHOTO: ALMA CHOLLETTE
From left, George Town Primary String musicians Rohanah Gonzales, 10, Kaciann Wilson, 11, and Amare Hamilton, 10, practice their violin skills at the afterschool program. – PHOTO: ALMA CHOLLETTE

Students can practice in the classroom or they can take the instruments home to continue their practice.

“The lack of financial resources should not be a barrier to playing a musical instrument,” said Cayman Arts Festival artistic director Glen Inanga.

The program currently caters only to primary schools as “we need to catch these students at this very impressionable age to instill the right mind set required to develop the necessary skills,” Mr. Inanga explained.

According to Ms. McConvey, “At present, it is the younger students who do not get the opportunity to learn to play orchestral instruments in the government schools.”

“The aim of CAF is to provide tuition for gifted students as they get older if this is not available to them. CAF will follow their progress and be there to support by providing opportunities to perform, summer camps and instruments to play if necessary,” she added.

The Cayman Arts Festival organizers are seeking violins, violas and cellos instruments in sizes 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or 4/4 for the students.

“Right now, we have students in John A. Cumber Primary who were identified as gifted over a year ago and are still waiting for a chance to play the violin or cello,” Ms. McConvey said. “All we need are enough instruments to get them started.

“We would love a company or individual to come forward and donate enough for us to purchase violins and cellos for the John A. Cumber students and perhaps another company to donate clarinets for use of the students in Cayman Brac,” she added.

Those who would like to donate in support of the Cayman Arts Festival’s music program may contact 922-5550 or email [email protected]

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now