The Line Up 2013

Saint Lucia School of Music

Music School and Orchestra

Prior to the establishment of The St Lucia School of Music, music education was largely confined to a few private individuals offering piano -parlour type tuition. Brass and woodwinds were taught through The St Lucia Police Band Master. The idea to establish a school that would offer comprehensive music education emerged during an informal congregation of musicians and music enthusiasts. They lamented the absence of formal music education and despaired of the prospects for budding musicians. The distance from wish to reality was a short one. In 1987 the St Lucia School of Music was established due largely to the mobilising efforts of Mr Hunter Francois, Retired (Lawyer and Minister of Education, Government of Saint Lucia) and a dedicated team of founder members.

The current main school property at Tapion was initially leased from Dr. Owen King., a well-known medical practitioner. It was a wooden building on a picturesque acre of land, used as a retreat for artists and writers. The building was converted to facilitate the school's needs as best as possible and the school opened its doors on January 11th 1988 with 75 students registered. A management committee was established: Hunter Francois (President), Sir Leton Thomas, (Vice President) Trevor Cozier (Secretary), Arletta Bailey (Treasurer) , Bernard Theobalds, (floor member). The first classes began with donations of two pianos and a few other instruments. Harry Smith was the first principal.

In 1988 by Cabinet conclusion, the school became an assisted school and an annual subvention was provided by the Government of St. Lucia.

The school has enjoyed the generosity of many benefactors with a keen appreciation of the arts and interest in its development. In 1992, the property came up for sale and the Government of St Lucia under Sir John Compton purchased the property for the exclusive use of the school.

Today the school enjoys a registration of over 400, and offers a year-round 3 -term music programme as well as summer clinics and workshops. It has come to be viewed as the national standard for music education. The school currently retains a full-time Director, Administrative Secretary, Librarian, Bursar and a cadre of well-qualified and committed tutors. The school maintains two campuses – one in Castries, the capital and another in Vieux-Fort at the southern end of the island. Currently, plans are near completion for expansion into Gros-islet in the north of the island.

The St Lucia School of Music now boasts an exemplary student pass rate and several ensembles: An Intermediate and Advanced band, a String Orchestra, a Symphonic Orchestra, a jazz concert band, a Jazz combo-Black Ants a National Youth Choir, as well as a number of orchestras emerging from various community outreach programmes.