JIS News

The second in the series of the 2007 Regional Symposia on the life, work and legacy of reggae icon Robert ‘Bob’ Nesta Marley O.M., organized by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), was held on Friday, February 2 at Independence Park in Black River, St. Elizabeth.
The symposia, which began on Thursday, February 1 in St. Catherine saw students from some 15 schools from the central region – Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth – participating in a full day of activities.
Director of Field Services at the JCDC, Delroy Gordon, informed JIS News that, “the symposia highlighted the work and the contribution of Bob Marley in commemoration of his 62nd birth date.the programme started from 1994, when there was a residential training for youngsters when they were exposed to Bob Marley’s music, (through) training in various musical instruments and the rearrangement of [his] music”.
However in 1999 the JCDC changed the format. “Instead of having four days of residential training we are now having four separate days – one in each region – where we are able to reach . more young people,” he further informed. Mr. Gordon noted that initially the event targeted 50 youngsters, but now it was aimed at approximately 500 persons in each region.
The Field Services Director also explained that through the symposia, the JCDC sought to “bring to the fore particularly for the youngsters, the life, the work, worth and the contributions of Bob Marley. We recognize [his] work not just locally but also internationally”.
He added that with the death of the reggae icon for more than 20 years, “we figure it is our responsibility as a cultural agency and [with] his contribution to culture, that we sensitize our young people . about his contributions and at the same time seek to use his life as a motivation to them, to recognize that they can give of their best and that the sky is the limit”.
In addition to displays on Marley’s life and work, the students were educated about the work of the artiste by presenters including Musicologist Garth White; award winning photographer and co-chair of the JCDC Visual Arts committee, Howard Moo Young, and former Chair of the St. Elizabeth JCDC Parish committee, Howard Hendricks.
After the presentations, choirs from nine schools participated in the Bob Marley Song Arrangement Competition, which was first introduced in 2006. Each school was asked to choose one of Marley’s songs and re-arrange it using their own style. Vere Technical High of Clarendon was victorious in that event, while Bishop Gibson High of Manchester claimed second place.
Speaking with JIS News, Tiffany Guthrie of the Bethabara Primary and Junior High School in Manchester said the symposium was very informative. “What I like about the ‘Get Up Stand Up’ symposium was the presentations and the entertainment. I liked the story that Mr. Moo Young told about Bob Marley and I think that it was great,” she said.
Among the schools which participated in the day’s activities were Hampton High, Kemps Hill High, Central High, Black River Primary, May Pen Primary, and Knox College.
The fourth and final symposium will be held today (February 6) to coincide with Bob Marley’s birthday, at the Neville Antonio Park in Port Antonio, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
This will be followed by a concert at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, in the evening, featuring a host of performers headed by Steven Marley. On Thursday, February 8, the JCDC activities celebrating the life and work of Bob Marley will culminate with discussions on his work on the television programme ‘Your Issues Live’, aired live from Brown’s Town, St. Ann.