September 6, 2017

(Pictured above from the class of 2017  l-r: Devon Campbell, Joven McCarthy, Jordan Moncrieffe)

The Alpha Institute musicians and music director left London on Friday and carried with them back to Jamaica more than a week’s worth of memories, experiences and opportunities for growth. While Alpha’s training program helped to prepare the young musicians for this unique experience there’s nothing like the actual experience with which to learn more about yourself as a musician and to grow as a person. Please find below photos and comments from the Alpha musicians about this amazing experience made possible by Madness and Raw Materials in London and National Baking Company and Alpha Boys School Radio in Jamaica.

From performing in front of 20,000 people at the House Of Common Festival hosted by ska super-group Madness to learning Fela Kuti-style jazz with the Fontanelles, playing out at local jazz venues with veteran jazz musicians including fellow Alpha alumni and longtime Londoner Edward ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton to participating in youth music workshops with Youthsayers musicians who are equally as passionate. Alpha tenor player, Joven McCarthy said, “I learned a lot by collaborating with the different styles of music and the different nations of people. I will make good use of this opportunity!”

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Watch Alpha tenor player Joven McCarthy perform with The Fontanelles at the National Theatre’s River Stage on the Thames.

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Watch Alpha trombone player Jordan Moncrieffe’s solo at the Ritzy Upstairs in Brixton.

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Pictured above: Dub Vendor founder John MacGillivray, and the Dub Vendor family present the proceeds to Alpha from their 40th Anniversary Dance held earlier this month.

Alpha trombone player, Jordan Moncrieffe, said of his London experience, “I learned ow to interact better with different audiences as a performer. I intend to build and expand the libary of songs that I can play and research new trombone techniques to study and practice that will help me elevate to another level”.

In addition to music, Alpha’s newest grads met with Alpha alumni living in London and Birmingham as well as London institutions like Dub Vendor Records and the Black Cultural Archives. Dub Vendor and Alpha alumni presented Alpha with  generous donations at the Black Cultural Archives. The Black Cultural Archives current exhibition entitled “Black Sounds” includes Alpha alumni like Joe Harriott and Leslie Thompson which provided a wonderful perspective on Alpha alumni’s contributions in London and to British culture more broadly. Alpha is most grateful for the support of Alpha alumni who traveled for hours to be with us. For more information about the Black Sounds exhibition click here to visit the page on Alpha Boys School Radio.

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