The Alpha Institute, the Jamaican centre that helped grow the talents of Johnny Osbourne, Yellowman, and Leroy Smart, received two welcome upgrades to its music program on April 26 and April 27.
The institute celebrates its 141st anniversary on May 1.
On April 26, the Sandals Foundation unveiled “Alpha Ska,” an art installation by local artist Lisa Lindo. The 20-foot “mild steel” piece is based on a design by the late Michael ‘Freestylee’ Thompson.
The Sandals Foundation also sponsored a $2.6-million upgrade to a performance space at the Alpha Institute.
“Alpha Ska” overlooks the performance space, located at the end of a 100-foot Music Walkway.
The upgrade also includes multi-core audio mixing equipment for live performances.
On April 27, the Institute unveiled the Colm Delves Centre sign at their South Camp Road, Kingston location. The sign is part of a major donation from the Digicel Foundation that includes a dedicated music center named in honor of Delves, the former CEO of the Digicel Group, who died in 2020 following a battle with cancer.
Delves loved Jamaica’s culture, heritage, people, and music.
The upgraded facilities are key to the Alpha Institute’s new Associate Degree in Music Performance. The degree program focuses on ensemble-style performance and is the first in Jamaica at a tertiary school level.
The Alpha Institute’s mission is, “the empowerment and personal transformation of young people through education and skills training.”
On May 1, 1880, five women started the Alpha Cottage orphanage on a 40-acre property along South Camp Road. Alpha Cottage was renamed twice before it became the Alpha Institute.
Sister M. de Chantal started the school’s music program in 1892.
Besides Yellowman, Johnny Osbourne, and Leroy Smart, other graduates of the music program include Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, Lennie Hibbert, and John “Dizzy” Moore.
Alpha School of Music Administrator Margaret Little Wilson thanked the Sandals and Digicel Foundations for helping Alpha Institute continue its mission, and for believing in music education and the power of Jamaican music.
SOURCES: ALPHABOYSSCHOOL.ORG, DANCEHALLMAG.COM