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Music Rises to the Rafters in Jones School's Recital

March 13, 2005 – St. Thomas residents who chose to attend the benefit concert on Sunday presented by the Jones School of Music were treated to a potpourri of flute, organ, piano and voice music.
The school, established by Jo Sandra Jones James in 1983, is now operated by three instructors: Rudolph Faulkner on steel pan, Rebecca Faulkner on piano and Lorna Freeman-Dennis in voice. Proceeds will allow the school to continue its annual scholarship award of $1,000 to a V.I. student who is majoring in music. The school is presently resident in Tillett Gardens.
Roger Lakins, minister of music at the St. Thomas Reformed Church was master of ceremonies, introducing works ranging from J.S. Bach's Prelude and fugue in A minor and Charles Marie Widor's Toccata from Symphony No. 5 to a theme from "Roots" and William Dawson's arrangement of the spiritual "Oh What a Beautiful City." Works were performed by James, Rebecca Faulkner, Freeman-Dennis, and flutist Levi Farrell, and outstanding students of the first three instructors.
The audience was appreciative of all performances, but particularly applauded young Byron Todman on piano and a cappella vocalist Akela Brumant, who sang "The Greatest Love of All." Brumant — who did not wish to announce her age when asked by the reporter but appears to be about 8 years old — has been taking voice lessons for about a year, Freeman-Dennis said. She stood straight and tall, chin up, hands clasped in front, and looking straight at the audience, and never faltered or forgot in her smooth delivery. Some audience members smiled when a passing water truck accidentally tooted four notes echoing Todman fingers during his piece.
Student performers included Nikita Williams, Ian Williams, Charles Smith, Larisha George, Shenika Davis, Vanessa Tamar, Brittney Jones, Chantal Christopher, Andrea Lee and Jean Webster. They ranged in age from perhaps 8 years old to mature adults.
Lakins congratulated parents of the young performers, saying what a gift they are giving their children: learning discipline and patience; observing nuances of sound; learning how to learn and how to work together as a team. Musicians or not, he said, all of these students will come to appreciate music and find the learning habits carry over into other learning.
He also noted among audience members Professor Austin Venzen, Dr. Lawrence Benjamin, Dr. Alfred Heath, and Dr. Lorna Young-Wright , and wondered if they were checking out their coming competition.
Not to be outdone by vocal duets, Rebecca Faulkner on her organ joined with an electronic partner in a rousing version of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Joyful Joyful." Lakins observed that Faulkner "regretted that the cannon couldn't be here this afternoon."
A number of certificates and awards were given. Jones James dedicated her performance in the theme from "Roots" to her visiting sister Barbara Ann James Wheeler, who was a research assistant to Alex Haley before he wrote "Roots." Elise Le Val was honored for being a patron of the arts. All instructors gave certificates to their students.
The final work, "Total Praise," by Richard Smallwood, was performed by Rebecca Faulkner, Farrell, Freeman-Dennis, and Jones James, and had the audience on its feet and moving throughout, with sound rising to the rafters in several encores.
Lakins had the last word: The Jones School, "where those who can, teach."

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