It is with feelings of honour, pride and achievement that we welcome you to this evening's concert in support of the fledgling birdsong Music Scholarship Fund. While it is indeed an honour to play the role of host at the nation's premier concert venue, our sense of pride and achievement comes from the quality of our offerings on this occasion and the progress that our organization continues to make in pursuit of our mission to continuously challenge the frontiers of music excellence.
The birdsong Academy is a learning organization. In our quest to deliver on this mandate, we are determined to spare no effort to provide our students with nothing but the best learning environment, tools, techniques and, most of all, musical leadership. This is the philosophy that has guided our production team in assembling the cast for this evening's programme which provides our student body with the opportunity to interact professionally with a mix of internationally recognized musicians and emerging artistes.
Rooted in the steelband movement, the birdsong Academy reaches beyond the steelpan to include other instruments (keyboard, string, wind, brass, and other percussion instruments) as it prepares students to be well-rounded musicians with the skills and competencies to enjoy a lifetime of music. More than 600 young persons have benefitted from this programme since its inception in 2004. All instruction is free on instruments sourced by birdsong. In July of this year, under the auspices of the Ministry of National Security, 7 additional steelbands across the country will adopt the "birdsong model" of community based youth music education.
The birdsong Scholarship Fund is our response to the challenge of exposing our top students to quality tertiary level music education. The Fund currently supports two students studying music in the US and Holland. As our programme matures, ours will surely be the bitter-sweet circumstance of supporting an ever increasing number of gifted and committed students to fully explore their talents. Proceeds of this concert series will contribute to their education but will no doubt be insufficient to meet all their financial requirements, birdsong's registered charitable status may be utilised by corporations and individuals to ed resources.