Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a delightful concert presented by the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica during their Canada Dream Tour. The young musicians performed classical music, traditional folk songs and reggae numbers. The orchestra, operated in collaboration with the Organisation of American States (OAS), provides high school students from high-risk communities in the greater Kingston area, with music lessons (free of charge). Objectives include:
- To build social cohesion, develop self-esteem, and self-awareness.
- To occupy students during their spare time and decrease the likelihood of involvement in crime.
- To engage participants’ families and other community members by involving them in volunteer positions in the program.
Classes held after school daily, focus on music theory, music appreciation, instruction and practice, orchestra rehearsals, and choral training.
The programme has expanded to 5 centres in Kingston. The students have given a number of concerts including concerts for performed for the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica and the British High Commission.
Over 39 countries have similar initiatives (e.g. The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Singapore National Youth Orchestra).
For event planners in search of worthwhile causes for CSR and other philanthropic endeavours, National Youth Orchestras are well worth supporting. These orchestras provide young people with the tools, training, and foundation to hone their musical skills. Tours and international conferences expose young people, often from underprivileged areas, to other cultures and broaden their horizons.
There are many ways for corporate partners to get involved. Organizations can:
- raise funds
- sponsor a child
- donate instruments and musical supplies
- sponsor tours
- donate uniforms
- sponsor workshops
- provide scholarships for the students to attend international concerts
If a company has musicians, providing a workshops for the young people would be another opportunity to give back to the community. The result? See for yourself:
Photo Credit: National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica