National Youth Month Launched
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard said, on September 22, 2010, that October’s “National Youth Month” will be focused on the “hard work and dedication” of the many youth organisations that work tirelessly to nurture The Bahamas’ most precious resource: the youth.
“Under the theme ‘Celebrating Youth … Get Involved (242)’, we are inviting young people to formalise themselves with the good work of our youth groups and to become involved in one or more of them,” Minister Maynard said at the National Youth Month Official Launch Ceremony, at the Ministry, on Thompson Boulevard.
“We are also using this opportunity to invite Bahamians at large, to volunteer their time and energies to a youth group of their choice.”
Minister Maynard said that a number of the highlights of National Youth Month include “One Thousand Youth Call to Prayer” on Friday, October 1; the Ministry’s partnership with the Annual “Fam Fest” Youth Fair, during the weekend of October 8 – 9 and the traditional National Youth March and Rally on the Sunday, October 24.
This year, Minister Maynard said, there is the addition of an international twist to the events.
“Over the last ten years, there has been a proliferation of church, school and community -based marching bands in The Bahamas,” he said.
“Thousands of young Bahamians are benefiting from a limited group of committed instructors. Today, we are proud to announce a new dimension of the development of our young musicians.”
Minister Maynard added that, in March of this year, his Ministry was approached by a small group of persons, led by Carlos Mackey, who advised of an idea that “struck at their hearts.”
The idea, he said, was to pursue major international events that would be advantageous not only for his ministry, but also for the young people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“This combined effort has resulted in the birth of a United All-Star Band, intended to open doors for music scholarships for youth who are most qualified to attend institutions of higher learning,” Minister Maynard said.
According to Minister Maynard, several months ago, community, school and church youth band directors were invited to identify 10-15 young persons from their memberships to audition for the united band.
Following a process of elimination, a total of 100 persons qualified overall for acceptance into the band.
“This afternoon, we have gathered to witness the official launch of The Bahamas United All-Star Band which comprises young persons between the ages of 15 -21 years,” he said.
The empowerment of youth is his ministry’s mandate, Minister Maynard said, and through partnerships with dynamic leaders of youth, he said they have once again created enabling conditions for our youth to become empowered.
“The overall purpose of The Bahamas United All-Star Band is to provide an advanced performance experience for the finest wind and percussion performers from a cadre of youth bands from around The Bahamas,” he said.
“This presents an ideal opportunity for young people wishing to further their studies abroad, in music.”
During National Youth Month (October 7-10), the band will travel to Bethune-Cookman University as a guest band at the Annual Homecoming Parade in Daytona Beach, Florida.
“This is indeed an historic moment for The Bahamas, as this is the first time that a Bahamian marching band has been invited to participate in these festivities,” Minister Maynard said.
“Indeed, this marks the beginning of good things to come.”
He added that his ministry already has plans in progress to conduct a youth band directors workshop in May of next year.
That exercise will provide an intensive educational opportunity for youth bandleaders and potential leaders to upgrade their skills and musical knowledge, Minister Maynard said.
Also, he said, emphasis will be placed on band development techniques, drum-line, development and music and technology.
“Today, I feel a great sense of pride because these young people are not holding dangerous weapons in their hands; instead, they hold 100 musical instruments,” Minister Maynard said.
By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services