Though separated as institutions, Mount Alvernia High School and Cornwall College have come together to create a rich synergy, in sound and attitude allowing them to cop seven awards at the 2014 National Festival of the Performing Arts in Music as the group Mount Alvernia and Cornwall College Singers.
Together the group walked away with the awards including the Dr. Olive Lewin Choirfest Champions, Most Outstanding Senior Presentation, Most Outstanding Vocal Classical/Semi-Classical Performance, Most Outstanding Vocal Classical/Semi-Classical Performance – Class 5, Most Outstanding High School Choir, Most Outstanding Jamaican Folk (Original) and the Most Outstanding Teacher Award copped by the Choir Leader, Mr. Gregory Smith.
Mr. Smith pointed out that it has been observed that students who are involved in the performing arts programme have been doing well. “I have noticed that the students in the performing arts programme are the ones who do well academically. They are the prefects and the student council representatives. The students learn to be disciplined as well as they develop motor skills which can be applied in other areas. Continuously it has been proven that they have an edge over other students” he said.
Turning to the structure of the Performing Arts Programme which is organized by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Mr. Smith noted that the programme includes several categories such as Classical, Semi-Classical, Spiritual, Sacred Music, Jamaican Folk Singing which are not popular in other Performing Arts Competitions.
These are the genres that the Mount Alvernia and Cornwall College Singers are known for. Mr. Smith noted that initially the students did not readily appreciate all the nontraditional categories but with time, their appreciation and love has grown.
Both schools’ boast a rich performing arts programme with full support from the principals who know the importance of students developing not only academically, but holistically. Students and young persons involved in any art form normally receive priceless exposure and experience. Mr. Smith, in agreement noted that the students get the opportunity to perform at national and other events while learning from the experiences of other groups in the competition.
A product of the JCDC Performing Arts Programme, Mr. Smith has enjoyed his experience and encourages young person’s to get involved in the performing arts which assists with their holistic development.
The JCDC the National Performing Arts Competition in Music has been committed over the years to honing the talents of budding musicians and singers across the island. The participants’exposure has enabled them to make tremendous strides in the pursuit of their musical career.