Visit of Organist Scott Dettra to Alexandra School, Speightstown, St. Peter
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Mr. Jeff Broomes, Principal, Alexandra School
Students of the Alexandra and Coleridge & Parry Schools,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good Morning. It is a pleasure to be here with you here this morning for this visit by renowned organist Scott Dettra.
This event combines two of the Embassy's important missions in the Eastern Caribbean: youth engagement as well as cultural exchange. Embassy staff members have become familiar with many of the 23 public secondary schools in Barbados and dozens of the primary schools as well due to our youth outreach activities. Some of these activities include book donations, sports equipment donations, the U.S. Embassy/CXC Outstanding Student Awards, and the Martin Luther King essay contest.
Our EducationUSA office is also in regular contact with youth throughout the Eastern Caribbean region - through their participation in the annual College Fair or the Educational Opportunities Conference that was held in November for those interested in studying in the USA.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has also been active in developing innovative programs to support young Barbadians. These programs are designed to help youth succeed through the provision of life skills, including working in teams, effective communication, and conflict resolution. To date, 640 young people have benefitted from this USAID sponsored training program.
Bringing Mr. Dettra, the organist for Washington National Cathedral here to Barbados, allows us at the Embassy to share an important piece of our culture with you.
The Washington National Cathedral was officially opened in 1912 and has been the site for many major national events in U.S. history. In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson attended the official thanksgiving service for the end of World War I there. The state funerals of three Presidents have been held at the Cathedral. In 1968, Dr Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we celebrate on Monday, preached his last Sunday sermon at the Cathedral.
Mr. Dettra performs more than 350 services per year at the Cathedral -nearly one service for every day of the year! He also assists Music Director Michael McCarthy with the direction of the Cathedral choirs. As someone at the center of such an integral American musical tradition, Mr. Dettra has a lot to share with you here today about his passion for the arts and building a career in music. As music students yourself, perhaps considering the best way to turn your passion into a career, this could be the start to addressing your and your parents' concern about pursuing a career in the arts.
Please join me in giving a warm Alexandra and Coleridge & Parry schools' welcome to Mr. Scott Dettra.