Wed | Apr 24, 2024

Heritage Singers founder gives back through bursary for Edna Manley College

Published:Tuesday | February 20, 2024 | 12:09 AM
Artistic director of the Nexus Performing Arts Company Hugh Douse (right) takes the guest of honour Grace Lyons for a ‘spin’ on stage during the group’s performance at the launch of the Grace Lyons Heritage Singers (Canada) Bursary, valued at CDN$10,
Artistic director of the Nexus Performing Arts Company Hugh Douse (right) takes the guest of honour Grace Lyons for a ‘spin’ on stage during the group’s performance at the launch of the Grace Lyons Heritage Singers (Canada) Bursary, valued at CDN$10,000 which will benefit students at the School of Music and the School of Drama at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Commander John McFarlane was among the talented entertainers who took to the stage at the launch of the Grace Lyons & Heritage Singers Canada Bursary held at the Dennis Scott Studio Theatre at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Commander John McFarlane was among the talented entertainers who took to the stage at the launch of the Grace Lyons & Heritage Singers Canada Bursary held at the Dennis Scott Studio Theatre at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Performer and communications specialist Joan Andrea Hutchinson paid tribute to her close friend Grace Lyons with a poem titled ‘Amazing Grace’.
Performer and communications specialist Joan Andrea Hutchinson paid tribute to her close friend Grace Lyons with a poem titled ‘Amazing Grace’.
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Over the next four years, several students at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts will have the opportunity to benefit from a generous bursary established to honour Canada-based Jamaican Grace Lyons, founder of the Heritage Singers, which has been enriching cultural landscapes for over 40 years.

This bursary, valued at CDN$10,000, will be awarded to deserving students at the college’s School of Music and the School of Drama over the specified timeframe. The Dennis Scott Studio Theatre at the Edna Manley College was brimming with life recently as the launch for the bursary drew nearly 100 attendees, including friends and family members, some of whom travelled from Canada to be present.

The inception of this bursary was inspired by Lyons’ daughter, Lee-Anne Lyons-Bartley who envisioned it as a meaningful tribute to her mother’s 75th birthday as well as a heartfelt gesture from the Heritage Singers to give back to Jamaica and contribute to the preservation of Jamaican culture.

Lyons-Bartley, in her address, acknowledged her mother’s humility and inclination to shine the spotlight on others rather than seek recognition for herself. However, she emphasised the importance of honouring her mother’s legacy and the family’s ethos of service by establishing the bursary, which came as a surprise to Lyons herself, evoking an emotional response upon its unveiling.

Minister with responsibility for culture, Olivia Grange, underscored the significance of the initiative in her speech, highlighting the invaluable contribution it makes to the development and sustenance of Jamaica’s cultural landscape.

Representing the college, Vice-Principal for Administration and Resource Development, Leighton Jones, emphasised the transformative impact the funds would have on the recipients’ academic journeys.

The Heritage Singers, under the visionary leadership of Grace Lyons, have been instrumental in promoting and preserving Caribbean folklore through their music for nearly five decades. Their dedication to cultural preservation was evident in the captivating performances at the launch, which featured a diverse array of talents from the Nexus Performing Arts Company, Commander John McFarlane, The Pantomime Company, Haniffe Dias and Taquane Bowen of the School of Music, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, and the esteemed four-time Festival song winner Roy Rayon.

The bursary launch not only celebrated the legacy of Grace Lyons and the Heritage Singers, but also heralded a promising future for the recipients, who will benefit from this generous support in pursuit of their artistic endeavors.