Premiere of Leerorkest Saba

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On June 28th, approximately 40 students from the Sacred Heart School took the stage of the Princess Juliana Sports Field as part of the Leerokest Saba, performing for parents, teachers and other community members.

Students from Grade 2 to Grade 6 participated through singing and playing various instruments such as violin, cello, trombone, trumpet, flute, clarinet, drums, guitar, bass guitar and piano. 

Items on the program included renditions of “A Ram Sam Sam” and “Take that Groove”, as well as performances by the percussion ensemble, piano group and two local bands. 

Parent, Henrietta Hassell, who had two children participating in the performance, shared her enthusiasm about the program and how much of a learning opportunity it has been for all. ‘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,’ shared Hassell.  

The Leerorkest is a well-known organization in the Netherlands that gives children the opportunity to learn an instrument for free, typically in collaboration with schools and cultural organizations. With the Ministry of Justice funding the program, children get the opportunity to learn a musical instrument with the goal of enriching their lives through music in both the educational and social aspects. 

This program was also made possible by SACS and Sacred Heart Primary School, and a team of instrument teachers including Thaddeus Nicholson, Lorna Simmons, Marijke Geelhoed and Johan Nothnagel, who have been assisting the students with practicing from November 2023. 

‘Although Saba is small, we have many cultural influences, all sharing the same vision: wanting to see the children of Saba succeed. With the Leerokest program, the lives of our children are enriched a variety of musical factors, which can get the rest of the community excited and motivated,’’ states Nothnagel.

With the completion of this pilot year of the Leerorkest Saba program, President of SACS, Franklin Wilson, was pleased to announce that additional funding from the Ministry of Justice was approved for next year, giving way for the Leerokest Saba to continue to grow and for students to improve with every lesson. Projects on how the program can be facilitated as part of secondary education are also being explored.