Rotarians who are responsible for running the music program, June Riley Jackson (President) and Joan Dayal, admire the new violins from Fiddleheads.ca
Music teacher Jane Carter gives individual coaching to two of the youngest pupils.
The after-school classroom, donated to the Rotary Club by the city, is a site for the music lessons. Like many of the school facilities available in Trinidad, this space is crowded and not very well equipped.
Photos by Don MacKinnon
Fiddleheads and a Trinidad Violin Project
"Empowerment Through Music Going Strong"
Written by the Rotary Club of Westmount, Quebec
Children are learning to play more violins in Trinidad thanks to the generous support of the Rotary Club of Westmount, in Montreal, and Fiddleheads Violin Studio.
In February 2008, a member of the Rotary Club of Westmount delivered seven violins purchased from Fiddleheads Violin Studio to almost double the number of violins used in an after-school program for underprivileged students at the Woodbrook Learning Center, in Port of Spain. It is expected to make more instruments will be available for practising at home.
In 1999 the Rotary Club of Maraval, through the kind assistance of the Port of Spain City Corporation, acquired the use of the Woodbrook Estate Office, a small building in the inner city. Here the Club established the Learning Center, a school that provides an avenue where displaced children can recover their education path.
The school attracts students who have special difficulties that have impacted on their learning or who have fallen out of the regular education system.
By teaching a tailored curriculum and providing special medical and counselling services where required, the students are elevated to a level where they are either re-introduced into the regular school system or enrolled into other vocational or skills training programs.
Approximately two years ago an after-school music program was added. The music students meet weekly with a music teacher hired by the Maraval Club. The discipline they learn from music tends to flow over to strengthen their academic performance.
Based on experience gained here, the Rotary Club is hoping to extend the benefits of classical music training to other schools in the city.
Don MacKinnon is the Westmount Rotarian involved in the planning and delivery of Westmount’s donation.
“We are greatly indebted to Rhiannon Nachbaur and to Fiddleheads.ca for the unstinting assistance and counsel in obtaining the appropriate violins for this program, and for her generous financial support toward their acquisition," he said.
"We thank her deeply and sincerely for her generosity.” •
Letter from the Project Organizer
The violins that we (Rotary Club of Westmount, Quebec) ordered from you from were delivered to the Rotary Club of Maraval in Port of Spain, Trinidad, last month, and were very warmly received by those responsible for the music program.
My friend, Jill Kinsman, and I took them with us as part of our baggage allowance. Not only were we welcomed at the Rotarians’ regular weekly luncheon meeting, we were given a very friendly greeting by the students themselves at one of their weekly music lessons.
Until now, the students study after school using instruments that stay in the school. I am hoping that the delivery of the new violins will permit a number of the students to take the instruments home for practising between lessons.
Again, many thanks for your help without which this project would remain just an idea!
Best wishes to you and your family. And wishing you, too, a safe and joyous delivery in May.
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