The thrill of Christmas and all the joy it brings filled the air on South Camp Road on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, when the Alpha School of Music (ASOM) hosted its annual Christmas Festival, made possible by First Rock Foundation.
The event, which took place in the open air of the Alpha Courtyard, featured performances by the Alpha students and the Alpha Community Band, was also a graded activity for Alpha students, who played to 200 patrons who enjoyed music from Jamaica, Trinidad, and Venezuela, to name just a few.
To kick off the performance, first and second-year students at the Alpha School of Music provided a buffet of musical treats that showcased the variety of ensembles at Alpha, ranging from the Guitar and Percussion bands to the Alpha Choir. The Year 1 Guitar Ensemble set the table with a lively rendition of popular Jamaican mento songs that had the audience head-nodding, foot-tapping, and singing along. The Year 1 Percussion Ensemble showed their creativity by using their bodies as percussion instruments, which was followed by a delightful performance of “Uniform” and “You Won’t See Me” by the Alpha Choir.
The Alpha Community Band, led by Band Directors Peter Ashbourne and Leon Ince, delivered an energetic selection of music from traditional carols to soca favourites. The band, which is supported by HELP Jamaica! and Jamaica Nice., consists of musicians of all skill levels from surrounding communities who meet weekly to practice together. This year the band had the Christmas spirit and gave a performance that was nothing short of amazing. They had patrons dancing in the aisles to a medley of classic melodies including “Ukrainian Bell Carol”, “Love Theme from the Godfather”, “This Masquerade”, “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Walk and Wine". Watch their performance of "Walk and Wine" below.
The Year 2 students closed the Christmas Festival with a signature performance of Jamaican riddims, a rendition of the jazz standard “Take Five” and the Christmas anthem, “Santa Clause, Do You Hear What I Hear.” A vocal medley which was sung by Alpha’s first female student, Zuri Gordon, was a special gift particularly as it was complemented by well-choreographed movement by all band members on stage.
For 120 minutes, the Alpha School of Music had the audience asking for more. The positive reactions from those who attended proved that the students and their teachers set the bar very high for Alpha’s next performance. One patron commented afterwards on Instagram, “I’m so happy I got to experience the [Alpha] Christmas Festival! I have been hearing good things about this institution, but this was the first time witnessing it in person and on campus! From the Year One s to the Year Twos and the Community Orchestra, everything was on point!”
Another said, “The performances of the students and community band were spectacular! It was especially lovely to see their first female music student perform.”
The festival was the perfect prelude to Christmas and truly a special event for the Alpha community. A massive well done to everyone involved!
ABOUT ALPHA BOYS SCHOOL/ALPHA INSTITUTE
Alpha's130-year tradition of music education has produced jazz innovators, ska pioneers and reggae icons. We are excited to offer a meaningful and innovative music training curriculum to youth today. We need your help to make it possible. Thank you for your support!