Premiere of Leerorkest Saba

On June 28th, the Princess Juliana Sports Field buzzed with excitement as around 40 students from Sacred Heart School showcased their musical talents as part of the Leerorkest Saba program. The event was a delightful display for parents, teachers, and community members.

Students from Grades 2 to 6 took to the stage, performing a variety of musical pieces. They demonstrated their skills on various instruments, including the violin, cello, trombone, trumpet, flute, clarinet, drums, guitar, bass guitar, and piano.

The program featured engaging renditions of “A Ram Sam Sam” and “Take that Groove,” along with captivating performances by the percussion ensemble, piano group, and two local bands. The diverse setlist highlighted the students’ hard work and dedication.

Henrietta Hassell, a parent with two children participating in the performance, expressed her joy and appreciation for the program. “It has brought so much joy to our home to see our children play these instruments, and we look forward to them continuing to build their musical skills,” she shared.

The Leerorkest program, a renowned initiative in the Netherlands, offers children the opportunity to learn an instrument for free, often in partnership with schools and cultural organizations. Funded by the Ministry of Justice, this program aims to enrich children’s lives through music, fostering both educational and social development.

This initiative was also supported by the Sacred Heart Primary School and the Saba Comprehensive School (SACS), along with a dedicated team of music instructors including Thaddeus Nicholson, Lorna Simmons, Marijke Geelhoed, and Johan Nothnagel, who have been guiding the students since November 2023.

“Although Saba is small, we are enriched with diverse cultural influences, all sharing a common vision: to see the children of Saba succeed. The Leerorkest program enhances the lives of our children through music, which in turn excites and motivates the entire community,” stated Nothnagel.

With the successful completion of this pilot year, Franklin Wilson, President of SACS, announced that the Ministry of Justice has approved additional funding for the next year. This will allow the Leerorkest Saba to continue growing, enabling students to further hone their musical skills. Plans are also being explored to integrate the program into secondary education.



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