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Mar 31, 1999

Trumpet workshop at House of Culture

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The police and the Governor General are not the only ones trying to revive band music in Belize. This week the House of Culture was filled with the sound of music. A Belizean who has been able to fulfil his dream of playing the trumpet while living in the United States met, and played, with professional and aspiring musicians here at home. As Luciano Rosado found out, in addition to the lack of basic method texts, there are still many obstacles facing Belizeans who share his passion for wind instruments. But there is also a strong desire in many to break down the barriers.

Luciano Rosado told those who attended Tuesday’s music clinic that if he hadn’t left Belize at age fifteen he would not have become a trumpeter. As one of 13 children, his family simply didn’t have the resources to buy him an instrument or pay for lessons, and in those days there wasn’t much support for music in the schools. Years later he is saddened to find the children are facing the same difficulties today.

Luciano Rosado, Trumpeter

“What I am hearing from the musicians I am meeting today and especially from music teachers is there is a problem in the schools not having support for the music. The parents aren’t supporting it. We’re talking money; it takes a certain amount of resources to buy one of these things, maintain it and to get the lessons.”

Two musicians who not only attended the session but also helped to generate some of the energy that emanated from the House of Culture on Tuesday afternoon say as professionals they constantly battle a lack of support and interest in their work. Naphty, the flautist for J Vibes Band says it seems only the tourists seem to see the value of their music. He wants Belizeans to know how taking up a musical instrument can make all the difference in the world, especially for children.

Naphty, J Vibes

“We came to Belize and we can’t find a work here. I work five nights per week in San Pedro and I can’t get a job here in Belize City playing music so it’s something that we have to look into. Music is a very important life form and it’s life and it creates a lot of discipline especially in children. Once they daily practice and try to create. It’s a creative force that exists throughout time.”

Frankie Rhys, the Musical Director for Sounds Incorporated who also plays a mean saxophone says like Rosado he was able to fulfil his potential in the United States, but he worries about the children here who want to play an instrument. He says support for school programs is vital and that they should never be subject to the whims of politicians.

Frankie Rhys, Sounds Incorporated

“There’s a real problem with the lack of resources. It’s not always an excuse but I’m just hoping that out of this workshop more people who are interested in music on a serious level get together. And maybe by working together as a group we can help achieve something. One of the problems with Belize is that everything is political and politics and music don’t mix.”

Although Luciano Rosado’s time with the students was limited to just a few hours he hopes he has given them something they will remember. He says it is vital for the older musicians to encourage the younger ones.

Luciano Rosado

“Well if even one child continues and got the message about what I was talking about even the technical aspect of how to breathe properly with the instrument, which is usually the number one problem that the kids have – even adults have that. They have adult students in the States who come to me with all the problems and really what they are not accomplishing is the breathing. Or the attitude that I told them about – keeping the mind focussed and concentrate on the moment. Don’t think about your problem each time you come to this instrument. Recognize it as a gift, take it to the maximum.

The mentoring is absolutely essential. I teach and that is why I told them all at some point all of you must teach; each one teach one. We need to allow the people, the children who want to grow with this gift; music is a gift.”

Rosado says he has been able to get American musicians to donate instruments to the children of Belize, but that shipment is a problem. He would appreciate assistance from any airline or shipping company. Rosado is currently an adjunct faculty member at Illinois State University where he prepares both undergraduate and graduate students for national competitions, band and orchestral auditions.

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