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Banging the drum for island’s youth

The rhythm boys: Eddie Ming with St George’s MP Kenneth Bascome and drumming students back from training in New York (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“Every day is a learning day” stands as the motto for music professor Eddie Ming’s Rhythm Lab.

His latest team of hardworking students, freshly home from New York’s Collective School of Music, got a special salute yesterday on the steps of City Hall for being examples of just that.

Mr Ming believes that age doesn’t matter, explained 15-year-old Jehkio Bean, who has returned from his second course of drumming instruction at the Collective.

“If you have talent, you explore it.”

A range of ages and skills took part: Ali Bardgett, one of the older females in the group, “turned all the Collective faculty’s heads when she played a bossa nova with their ensemble”, Mr Ming said.

Ariana Fox, specialising in contemporary studies for piano and funk drumming, has emerged as one of the Lab’s most promising readers of music. St George’s MP Kenneth Bascome duly presented the certificates, with recognition also to Gary Smith, Jaydon Robert, Tranell Nisbett, Matthie Duguay, Xenai Williams-Savery, Daeshun Landy, Deillo DeSilva, J’Kai Berkeley and Tajae Brown-Dill.

Five intense days of drums, percussion and piano, at the premier school on the Avenue of the Americas, will ultimately send them on for cultural exchange and deeper training in Havana, Cuba.

“It was beautiful, very intense as always, and the students did really well,” said Mr Ming, who is also a Collective graduate. “Everybody delivered.

“Going to the Collective is proof that we are always reaching to keep the vibe positive.

“Our mission is to have a programme that injects discipline in the students.

“It doesn’t matter if they play professionally or not. It’s all a learning process.”