By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Vincent Wheatley wants youngsters on Jost Van Dyke to take advantage of the benefits of the sister island’s music programme.
“The benefits of music for the developed mind is well documented. Music takes you to a different place. It relaxes you, gives you focus but, more importantly, these youngsters get to learn a marketable skill,” Wheatley said during the re-opening ceremony for Foxy’s School of Music on Wednesday.
“I am also a musician. I grew up playing music in primary school, in college, and I played after college. I made a lot of money playing music, and I bought my first property from playing music. I am living proof that you can make money from music. Others are still doing it, and you can do it here. You have limited distractions here on Jost Van Dyke so make the best of this school,” he added.
The minister also said Premier Andrew Fahie, who was unable to attend, has expressed full support for the school and has promised to give a monetary contribution to the institution.
In the meantime, Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull congratulated the owner of the Foxy’s enterprise, Feliciano ‘Foxy’ Callwood, for sticking to his word.
He said: “If I remember, Foxy told me in 2015 that he is going to do five different schools: music, fishing, agriculture, farming, health and transportation. He said he is going to have it right here on Jost Van Dyke because the governments seem like they forget about Jost Van Dyke,” Turnbull said.
More about the school
Meanwhile, General Manager at Foxy’s, Thomas Warner, told BVI News the first school structure — a 40-foot Mongolian tent — was in operation for roughly seven years before it was destroyed during the 2017 hurricanes.
The school was at the time located next to the stage used for the famous Old Year’s Night celebrations. However, the school has now been moved to the back of the restaurant adjacent to the main road.
“During Hurricane Irma, I was watching it get blown away with some of the instruments inside of it,” Warner recalled.
“Foxy’s wanted a more permanent location, and we have another building that was built where it had been. We picked that spot, so it’s nearby and very close to Foxy’s home and it is more visible from the road.”
He said the aim is to provide the island’s youth with the tools to preserve their cultural heritage.
He explained: “Just saying you want to preserve something isn’t how it gets done. Children, in particular, have to be given the tools and the training to appreciate the culture that they’ve got and build upon it.”
Warner said entities partnered with Foxy’s to donate the building and some of the musical instruments.
The building took approximately four months to get ready, and can accommodate up to 10 children. It is also equipped with a small apartment to facilitate a visiting tutor.
Delivering brief remarks at the ceremony, Callwood said he was grateful to see the undertaking come to fruition.
“To all those who helped and made this possible, today I want to thank you,” he said.
With the school back in operation, Coordinator of the School Katherine Dietrich said they plan to “create some magic” and has hopes of starting a band.
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