The Schools??? Choir Competition has been expanded and rebranded by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (METI) and is now being called: The Schools??? Music Festival. It will, however, continue to be a biennial schools musical development activity.

Conceptualised by Acting Senior Education Officer, with responsibility for Curriculum, Fernando Carter, The Schools??? Music Festival is considered a worthy successor to the former event, which was last held in 2013.

According to Mr. Carter, ???the goal of developing musical talent in all forms in our nation???s students??? was at the forefront of the creation of this new event.??The Finals are scheduled for Sunday, March 15, at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Wildey, St. Michael, at 3:00 p.m.

The Schools??? Music Festival 2015 is open to all students from public and private primary and secondary schools, and the five main categories of competition are: Singing (Chorale and/or Soloist); Ensemble; Small Orchestra; Pop Band; and Individual Instrumentalist.

Explaining that so far 38 schools had entered the new competition, Mr. Carter said 14 of these were from the secondary level. And, he noted that private and public primary and secondary schools had entered in all categories of the music festival.

The preliminary judging period will run from Thursday, January 29, until Thursday, February 5. The judging locations are the Prince Cave Hall, District ???A??? Police Station, on Thursday, January 29; Christ Church Foundation School Hall, on Friday, January 30; the Hugh Springer Auditorium, Barbados Workers??? Union, Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michel, on Tuesday, February 3; and Alleyne School Hall, Belleplaine, St. Andrew, on Thursday, February 5.

???Following the preliminaries, professionals, musicians and image creators will work with the finalists to fine-tune and develop our budding musicians for the Finals,??? Mr. Carter added. This Professional Development Workshop is scheduled for Thursday, February 26, at Prince Cave Hall, to hone the technical skills and improve the performances of the finalists.

The Ministry official also noted that the METI was currently working with the charitable organisation Partners That Care International to successfully plan this year???s event.

Additionally, he stated that the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation was on board to promote it and would, throughout the course, be interviewing the musical director and some students from the competing schools. ???This collaboration will involve a more ???made for television??? Finals that will follow entrants and schools through the Preliminaries to the Finals,??? Mr. Carter declared.

Box offices are located at C S Pharmacy (Bridgetown) and A & B Music Supplies Ltd. (Wildey and Sheraton). Tickets are also expected to be available at participating schools.??Parents or guardians seeking further information may contact Mr. Carter at 430-2829, or may email him at They may also contact Orlinder Bowen-Clarke at 430-2828.

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