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“Amity” Steel Band presentation celebrates collaboration, showcases Guyanese culture

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After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education’s Allied Arts Unit once again brought the vibrant sounds of steel pan music to life with its annual “Amity” Steel Band presentation, celebrating the talents and creativity of students from across Guyana.

Held on Sunday at the Kingston Seawall Esplanade, the event featured performances from West Demerara Secondary School, The Bishops’ High School, St. Rose’s High School, Dolphin Secondary School, Buxton Steel Orchestra, President’s College, and Berbice High School.

Education Officer with Responsibility for Music, Joel Gonsalves

In his opening remarks, Education Officer with Responsibility for Music, Joel Gonsalves highlighted the cultural and historical importance of steel band music, noting that Guyana’s embrace of this tradition has made it a cornerstone of the country’s artistic heritage.

He reminded those in attendance that the Ministry of Education believes talent flourishes when nurtured. They have consistently demonstrated this commitment by supporting children’s artistic development.

“We in the Ministry of Education, with responsibility for music, believe that music can only grow if we continue to enhance it. And what we are doing today is a testimony of that,” he said.

According to Gonsalves, this activity is also aligned with the five priority areas outlined by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand.

These areas are Music, Sport, Volunteerism, Language and TVET.

He pointed out that the country currently has 18 steel bands, and the ministry has endeavoured to increase this number.

In this regard, he disclosed that before the end of the year, the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) will receive a steel band.

“The ministry has committed to three bands every year to a school, whether it’s a primary or a secondary school. And before the end of this year, we have a commitment to a number of schools, including the Cyril Potter College of Education. Before this year ends, the Cyril Potter College will receive a steel band,” he emphasised. 

Head of the Allied Arts Unit, Nicholas Fraser

Meanwhile, Head of the Allied Arts Unit, Nicholas Fraser, identified several issues within the arts that the unit has been addressing, including care and maintenance of musical equipment, and the availability of instructors.

“We may be able to give out as many pans and as many bands to schools around the country. But we do need to have more instructors who will be able to hone those talents,” he explained.

He added that “Amity,” meaning friendly relations, perfectly captures the spirit of this event, as it is not a competition, but a celebration of teamwork, showcasing the fruits of collaborative effort.

The event saw the attendance of parents, teachers and senior officials from the Ministry of Education.

Buxton Steel Orchestra performing at Amity

St. Rose’s High School performing at Amity

Spectators gathered at the Seawall Esplanade for Amity

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