Simeon Maynard, the young drummer boy considered phenomenal by many, came out tops last evening at the inaugural Schools??? Music Festival, held by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, at the Garfield Sobers Complex, Wildey, St. Michael.

Not only did he place first in the Instrumentalist field of the primary school category, but the 10-year-old from Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary easily brought the house down with his stirring performance of Bridgetown Market by the Mighty Gabby.

This was met by tumultuous applause and standing ovations, with some patrons, including Master of Ceremonies, Jamar Browne, commenting that his future lay beyond Barbados to the region and international markets.

In addition to topping the competition, the youngster received a special Incentive Award for the most dynamic instrumentalist in the preliminaries held on March 3, at Prince Cave Hall, and for showing great promise.

The prize, an instructional DVD for drums, was donated by Anthony Sargeant, former coordinator of the now defunct Schools??? Choir Competition, which was replaced by this year???s event. Second and third places in this category went to Kymani Gilkes of Hillaby/Turner???s Hall Primary and Asha Stevenson of Wesley Hall Junior, respectively.

At the secondary level, Zukeli Inniss of The Alleyne School placed first with a performance of Kirk Franklin???s Lean On Me, on the saxophone. Ellerslie student, Joshua Holder, on violin, was second, while Romario Wilkinson of Combermere School came third.

Harrison College won the School Band/Ensemble section with its Steel Pan rendition of Trinidadian calypsonian David Rudder???s Dust In Ya Face. Its orchestra took second place with Barbados 42, while third spot went to The Alleyne School???s pop band.

The choir which topped the list in the primary school category was Hindsbury, doing an original composition entitled: Give Barbados Back To Him. St. Martin???s Mangrove came second, while in third position was the Cuthbert Moore Primary School.

At the secondary level, the champion school choir was The Lester Vaughan School, with their rendition of Ride On King Jesus. The Lodge School placed second, while Combermere School was third in this category.

Rashanna Britton of Hindsbury Primary gave her school yet another win when she placed first in the soloist category with Agnus Dei. Second was Fazeena Bassalat from Charles F. Broome, while Shem White of Hillaby/Turner???s Hall Primary School came third.

In the soloist category, at the secondary level, the winner was Cherece Richards of Frederick Smith with her rendition of Yesterday. Combermerian, Ranaan Hackett, placed second performing Ben, a Michael Jackson number. Third place went to Kenya Joseph of Grantley Adams Memorial, who later received a special incentive award for most dynamic female soloist.

Adrianna Mayers of The Christ Church Foundation School received a prize for the most popular video on the Schools??? Music Festival???s Facebook account.??The Schools??? Music Festival was well attended by students and teachers from the 27 participating schools.

Several officials from the Ministry, including Minister of Education, Ronald Jones; his Permanent Secretary, Cecile Humphrey; Acting Chief Education Officer, Karen Best; and Deputy Chief Education Officer (Examination and Assessment), David Clement, were also in attendance.

Describing it as a ???great evening???, Minister Jones said the acts were outstanding and ???truly wonderful???. Giving his support to the initiative, he added: ???It, of course, does not surprise me because I know the talent we have in our schools.

“We would want the country to fully appreciate this talent, the work of our music teachers, the work of all of those principals and teachers who work with our children [and] those children who get the fullest support of their parents. When you come together like this and you see the culmination of all of these efforts, you can only be proud of our young people.???

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