By Bishop Ken Carroll
On June 28, the North Abaco Community Band transformed the Faith Walk Church of God in Coopers Town into a grand recital hall.
Growth is apparent in this local collection of musicians who are displaying their many musical talents through the instruction of police officers and volunteers under the leadership of Supt. Noel Curry.
Supt. Noel Curry saw the need to foster a youth program that will help transform the youth of Abaco into leaders of tomorrow; displaying their many gifts and talents with the help of Urban Renewal Projects that are commissioned to provide wholesome activities towards the deterrent of crime among young people.
Supt. Curry said he believes in the youth and stands with programs that will help create productive citizens of today for tomorrow’s world. This North Abaco Community Band Recital is the result of meetings that were held over the last few months.
From March 2013 the stage was set as Sgt. Corrie Scott and Officer Dennis Ferguson conducted drills and marching techniques to create a group of energetic young musicians. Today these talented young people are known as the North Abaco Community Band.
The North Abaco Community Band is made of young adults with a strong commitment and sense of discipline. These two qualities made it possible to take these young people from Coopers Town Primary School to Ingraham Park with a significant level of growth.
In May 2013, the fundamental conception of the band was possible with the help of its faithful contributors – Mr. James Edgecombe and his partner Mr. Fletcher McIntosh, President of FES Construction. Edgecombe and McIntosh made it possible with the kind donation of $10,000.
This donation enabled the purchase of necessary instruments.
The band grew from 15 to 40 young people, and due to its continuous growth, the Saturday band practices moved to Faith Walk Church of God with the help of senior pastor Rev. Herbert Edgecombe. These young adults came from all settlements in the North from Treasure Cay to Crown Haven, striving to become musicians with the help of instructors who joined the team as of July 2013, such as ASP. Andrew Hunter.
By February 2014, a group of musical volunteers including Ms. Laurelle Smith of Coopers Town Primary, Mr. Enzil Cooper of S.C. Bottle High School, and ASP Malcolm Dean formed a dynamic team of youth leaders.
Today it’s newly formed executive board is made up of a group of civilians, as well as police officers.
President of the board, Sylvia Poitier, believes that as a community we can do much more by working together, because it will give our children a chance to become productive citizens, and this Community Band is just the beginning of what is to come.
The musicians entered Faith Walk Church of God dressed in white shirts and jeans, carrying their musical instruments as the brass took center stage whiled the drum line remained seated on the left of the building just below the stage. The band opened with the song, “To God Be the Glory” followed by the National Anthem as the young skilled drummers began with the drum roll.
Member of Parliament for North Abaco, Hon. Renado Curry, took time out of his schedule to attend the function. In his address, Mr. Curry stated that his government was intent on fostering well-rounded youth programs which are necessary to address the social ills of our country. Under the banner of Urban Renewal, the government, he said, has a mandated mission to conduct youth programs and sporting programs similar to our Caribbean neighbors.
Mr. Curry went on to personally thank the private sector which helped to make the program a success.
Also in attendance was Urban Renewal 2.0 Crown Haven Community Center Manager, Bishop Ken Carroll. Carroll pointed out that this is one the engineering programs that will transform communities in the North and stands firm with the expectation on many more to come.
As the evening progressed, those who sat in the audience were pleased as they applauded one particularly well-played song, “When the Saints Go Marching In.” As the conductor, Mr. Enzil Cooper, with his dramatic conducting techniques, gave his approval with the nodding of his head.
The value of growth and the precision of perfection after four months of two hour band practices was clear to all who saw this performance. Many of the and members were able to display not just the theory, but the practicality in what was learned as the drum line roll made its way into the hearts of those in attendance. The size and age of these talented musicians did not matter.
From the sound of the flute to the trumpet solo by Nathan McIntosh, the sound gave a clear explanation of the reward of hard work.
With the precise sounds of “Old McDonald” and “Jesus is my Deliverer,” all in the audience knew that it took hard work and practice to play these songs so melodiously.
Instructors Malcolm Dean and Cleare Austin did a trumpet duo as well.
“This is what community effort is all about. It takes you as a parent to direct these youths on the right path and this here is what North Abaco is all about, to direct, instruct and create role models and productive citizens of tomorrow,” said James Edgecombe, one of the main contributors to the program.
Also attending the recital was the newly appointed local government chairperson for North Abaco, Sandra-lee Parker. Parker was pleased with the attendance turn out, but most of all was excited to see excellent performances by these young people of Abaco. In the future she foresees that this band will move throughout North Abaco performing as far as Crown Haven.