The internationally acclaimed Jamaica Youth Chorale (JYC) is preparing to treat music lovers to a free concert at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Chapel in St. Andrew next Sunday (November 26), as part of activities to mark its 15th anniversary.
The choir will achieve the milestone on December 1, fifteen years after its founding members gathered to deliver a rendition of the National Anthem at UWI. Since that debut performance in 2008, the group has evolved into one of the leading choirs in the country, touring to South Africa, United Kingdom and United States, as well as getting featured in several local and regional productions and publications.
Greg Simms, JYC founder and conductor, said the free concert is the group’s way of saying thanks to its patrons and alumni who have contributed to the development of the choir over the years.
Since its establishment, over 250 singers have passed through the JYC, which Simms believes is an indication of the significant impact the organisation has had in such a short time.
“For 15 years we have had the pleasure of working with some amazingly talented young people, providing these singers and musicians with a safe space to express themselves and hone their gifts,” said Simms.
“All of what we have accomplished could not have been done without the support we received all these years and what better way to show our appreciation to our friends, partners and donors than through our music?”
Simms said at the upcoming show, which is scheduled to start at 5:00 pm, persons can expect an eclectic programme including crowd favourites from over the years.
“We’ve included songs that we love, songs that our audiences love, songs that have been there from foundation and of course something for the holiday season. There will be something for everyone as is customary with a JYC event,” he shared.
The free concert will precede the choir’s premier Yuletide event, Christmas Joy, coming up on December 16 at 8:00 pm and December 17 at 4:00 pm at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at UWI, Mona. The choir has been preparing for this event since September and tickets have gone on sale via the choir’s website at jamaicayouthchorale.org.
The choir’s 15th anniversary concert season continues in 2024 with ‘A New Year Blessing’ at the Saxthorpe Methodist Church on January 7 at 5:00 pm.
Simms explained that as the JYC enters its 15th year, the group will be looking to improve its high standard and also its influence within the wider choral space.
Sherona Forrester, JYC founding member, fundraising director and alto section leader, who has also witnessed the growth of the choir since year one, said this season will be an emotional one for her.
“It’s definitely not easy trying to execute all our plans as a not-for-profit organisation but we do it because we love performing choral music and I just want to say thanks to everyone who helped us along the way. I look forward to and hope for even greater support with our next steps,” she shared.