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Jun 28, 2007

Bahamian Choir makes one day stop in Belize

Story PictureFrom what we see on the streets of Belize City, our typical cruise ship visitors tend to be middle age and North American. Today, however, a very special group of tourists disembarked who were neither. News Five’s Kendra Griffith has the story.

Kendra Griffith, Reporting
The Bahamas National Children’s Choir was welcomed to Belize by a multi-school ensemble directed by Lavern Andrewin Ferguson.

The choir entered the country this morning via the Cruise ship Carnival Valor as part of an annual concert tour. Lorenzo Newbold and Joeneisha Storr have been singing with the B.N.C.C. for a number of years and say it’s educational … and fun.

Joeneisha Storr, Member, B.N.C.C.
”We get to travel and we get to go all over the world and meet new people, be in exciting things, and do new stuff that we never did before.”

Kendra Griffith
“What are you looking forward most to while here in Belize?”

Joeneisha Storr
”I am looking forward to seeing all the historical places, meeting famous people, learning more about the country and other facts.”

Lorenzo Newbold, Member, B.N.C.C.
“What I like about the choir is you get to see plenty of exposures and you get educated from it.”

Kendra Griffith
“Now is it hard work?”

Lorenzo Newbold
“No, not really. I’m very good at it, but it’s not really hard for the beginners and stuff.”

One of those beginners is seven year old Aaliah Thurston who signed up last year.

Aaliah Thurston, Member, B.N.C.C.
“I decided to join because my cousin tells me about the neat things and he says that it’s fun.”

Kendra Griffith
“And it is fun?”

Aaliah Thurston
“Yes ma’am.”

Kendra Griffith
“Do you have to practice very hard to be in the choir?”

Aaliah Thurston
“No ma’am.”

Although the entire seventy-six members of the choir were unable to make the trip … twenty-eight of them did and this morning they took to the stage at the Bliss to put on a show for an audience of Belizean students, music lovers, and the media.

Patricia Bazard, Dir., Bahamas National Children’s Choir
“The children will do quite a variety of songs and I guess of interest will be the Bahamian section which will be songs of the Bahamas with our own Bahamian instrumentation.”

Director Patricia Bazard started the choir with her sister in 1990 and says it’s not difficult getting the kids to sing.

Patricia Bazard
“You have to love children when you are dealing with children. It’s much easier with young adults, but when you are dealing with children, they are in their formative years. They are busy, they are energetic, you have to keep them—it’s the discipline that a lot of them have to get used to and accustomed to and I find it takes you about two to three years to get that discipline in them. We have the children from five to fifteen, sixteen, at the end of high school and you find that by the time they get twelve you don’t have to worry about that group.”

Both Ferguson and music advocate Gloria Edwards gave the Bahamians rave reviews and said that with effort and dedication, Belize can also have a national choir.

Lavern Andrewin Ferguson, Choir Director
“I am really impressed with the choir, but I don’t think it’s a goal that would be unreachable for Belize. I really think that we have the ability, we have the children who have talent, I’ve seen it, I’ve worked with children who can actually sound as good as they have sounded and do as well as they have done.”

Kendra Griffith
“It that your hope, that Belize will also have a choir like this can also travel around the world?”

Lavern Andrewin Ferguson
“That is my hope. I wish that something like that would happen for Belize.”

Gloria Edwards, Choir Director
“It will take commitment not only the one part of whoever is working with the children, but people from the community, their parents, other teachers, and the powers that be who hold the purse strings, but of course we need to do a lot more for ourselves.”

“Our children can do as well as the Bahamians, we just need the exposure, we just need the time invested in them.”

The Bahamas National Children’s Choir left Belize this afternoon. Their next stop on the cruise itinerary is Mexico. Kendra Griffith reporting for News Five.

The Bahamas National Children’s Choir did manage to get in some sightseeing today. They visited the Museum of Belize and were treated to a lunch of Belizean cuisine at the House of Culture followed by a tour of the building.

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