Students at Holy Trinity High School in Central Kingston are singing a new song.
“Before students joined the school choir, teachers and parents had complained about their bad behavior,” recounted Andrew Coley, music instructor at the school for 20 years. He reported that since their participation in the choir students’ attire and speech have improved as a result of the discipline that accompanies music education.
Jahnice Solomon invited her school mate Markia Kirkland to join the choir just over one year ago. Both girls are now lead singers in the group that have been invited to perform locally and overseas. “Whenever I sing it makes me feel better. It has opened my mind to see the world in a totally different light. Music has helped to put my mind at ease especially when I am doing my school work,” Solomon said.
Belting out a rendition from reggae legend Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’, their melodious voices filled the small but manageable space currently being used as the music room. Redemption Song was released in 1980 on Bob Marley and the Wailers ‘Uprising’ album. Aspiring to be an internationally acclaimed singer, Kirkland said singing brings her peace. “Whenever I am singing I feel myself in a different world. I feel so relaxed and I am able to enjoy my performance,” she said.
Shekiana Russell loves to sing the Marley rendition as it has kept her motivated. She disclosed that it has been hard on her mother to provide for the family and the song helps to put her mind at a place whereshe will not become enslaved by her circumstances. “Singing makes me happy. I give less trouble and I am able to focus on my school work and what is important,” Russell said.
Coley said he has managed to keep the group motivated by sharing his life experiences with them. “We find the talent and we try to enhance it. I tell them they can go anywhere and perform and use their God given talent to improve their lives,” he recounted.
“They know I am very strict. I sit and talk with them first and I outline my expectations of them. Those that are unable to adhere to the requirements normally leave,” Coley added.
Holy Trinity High School, named after the Holy Trinity Cathedral, was formerly St Anthony’s Senior School. It is a Catholic institution that was established by the Franciscan Sisters at West Street in Kingston in the late- 1940s. The school was later relocated to Orange Street where it operated under the leadership of the Sisters of Mercy responsible for Alpha Academy.
In 1953, the school was relocated to properties owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston at 18 Emerald Road (now George Headley Drive), the home of the world-famous Sabina Park cricket ground.
In 1995 the school was renamed – Holy Trinity Comprehensive High School – and admitted its first batch of Common Entrance students. In 2000 the school was again renamed Holy Trinity High School in keeping with the Ministry of Education’s policy of upgrading all Comprehensive High Schools.
Shekiana Russell (left) Jahnice Solomon (2nd left) Brittney Sylvester (right) and Markia Kirkland (2nd right) form the quartet as part of the music group at the Holy Trinity High School. These young ladies belt out the tune from reggae legend Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’