Tivoli High’s musical graduates part of Seaga honour
Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga's shaping of West Kingston's physical and institutional infrastructure, along with his involvement in music, will be reflected in his being honoured by Tivoli High's graduates in New York, USA.
Seaga was integral to the promotion of ska from Chocomo Lawn in West Kingston, and one of Jamaica's early music producers with his West Indies Recording Limited (WIRL) label, on which 'On Manny O' was released (Higgs & Wilson). In 2012 he curated the four-disc 'Reggae Golden Jubilee' box set, encapsulating his perspective on the origins of Jamaican music.
None of the performers slated for the October 26 function are included on the box set. They have come though another of Seaga's projects - the Tivoli High School. Deejay Stitchie, who is president of the Tivoli Gardens High School Alumni Track Corporation, told The Gleaner that he, Lukie D, Ghost, Michigan and Abi McDonald, will perform at the function "in honour of his vision." They are all Tivoli High graduates, plus there is special guest - Benjy Myaz who Stitchie calls "an honorary alumni." Dr Michael Weir is the corporation's chairman. The function's musical thread extends to the guest speaker, Chris Roberts, CEO of the Groovin' in the Park concert, the 2018 staging held recently in New York.
Prerequisite for success
"We are going to honour persons who have served the school well from the beginning. Next January makes 50 years since Tivoli High has been in existence. Our intention is to use what we are doing as a template to show that regardless of where you are, and what stigma is attached, it cannot stop you from being successful if you work hard and persevere," Stitchie said. "Poverty is not an excuse for failure, but it can be a prerequisite for success, and we are living proof."
The pool of qualified performers included deejays Cobra and Admiral Bailey, as well as singer Duane Stephenson, those graduates and more are being reserved for possible future performances.
The corporation is fusing honours to Tivoli High's origins with supporting its future, as Stitchie said, "we will be offering two academic scholarships to a tertiary institution. We have already identified two students and this is a full scholarship for the years." The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) is the destination for one recipient, who plans to study journalism. In addition, the corporation supports Tivoli High School's track and field athletes in their ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships participation.