Saint Lucia (April 29, 2015) – On the heels of the start of the region’s most keenly anticipated entertainment spectacle, the last of the core components, the Educational Segment, has been launched. 

Although being among the less recognizable parts of the Festival, the Educational component plays a critical role in advancing the strong ‘legacy of learning’ imbued within the almost quarter of a century old event. 

As hundreds of residents, returning nationals, neighboring and international visitors to the island await what is going to be eleven days of musical and artistic bliss, hundreds of up and coming Musicians, Dancers and Culinary Arts apprentices will have their skills fine-tuned via a series of educational workshops.   

Speaking on the wide array of activities included in this year’s festival, Director of Tourism Louis Lewis stated that, “The Saint Lucia Tourist Board has worked feverishly to produce an event that showcases the fun side of musical entertainment, as well as the educational aspect with the inclusion of the Culinary Arts, Dance and Music.”

As part of the education component Form-Four students enrolled in the Soufriere Comprehensive and Choiseul Secondary Schools will benefit from a Culinary Arts workshop on Tuesday May 5th, 2015 at the Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School. The students will enhance their culinary skills and techniques under the watchful eyes of award winning chefs, Elijah Jules and Sherma Peter, both operating from the world renowned hotel resort and spa, Jade Mountain. 

Chef Elijah, a former sous chef and captain of Saint Lucia’s culinary team, is a Chef de Cuisine at Jade Mountain. Chef Eli, as he is popularly known, is famous for putting his own twist on Saint Lucia’s traditional dish “green bananas and salt fish”, which earned him the runner up position at the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup, held in April this year in Antigua. Chef Elijah is expected to share with the students his skills in kitchen safety, sanitization, cooking techniques and raw fish preparation demonstrations based on food science.

Pastry Chef Sherma is the national pastry chef champion. She is ambitious, creative and very passionate about her work. She participated as an esteemed judge for Saint Lucia’s first NRDF Independence Cake Challenge and was part of the culinary team for the 2014 Taste of the Caribbean Competition held in Miami. Chef Sherma will be sharing her knowledge on mastering the art of Cake design and icing.

The educational component of the Dance segment of the festival involves, dance workshops from Monday May 11th to Friday May 15th, 2015.  Both teachers and students from secondary schools across the island will benefit from this four-day workshop consisting of lectures and 3-hour dance sessions with students ranging from Forms 2 - 4.  Venues and times are to be announced.

The workshop is facilitated by Kerry Ann Henry, Director of the Edna Manley School of Dance and College of Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica. Ms Henry, a well-known dance teacher who holds a Masters degree in Theatre and Development from the University of East Anglia in the UK, is a trained dancer in techniques ranging from Modern to Afro Haitian and Jazz.  She is a resident judge for the television dance competition in Jamaica entitled Dancin’ Dynamites. She sits on the panel of judges and acts as an adjudicator for the Jamaica Cultural Development Competition for National Dance Festivals and Competitions.  

The musical aspect runs from May 6-7 and then again from May 10-11. In the first instance it will see close to 150 students associated with the St. Lucia School of Music hone their skills via an interactive session staged at the Music Box in Rodney Bay. That session will be facilitated by Miguel Siso, a visiting artist from Venezuela, facilitated by the Venezuelan Embassy.   

Another musical workshop staged at the National Cultural Center and facilitated by self-taught master musician, pianist Allain Jn. Marie, will group anywhere from 200 - 500 primary and secondary school students ages 8 to 15 years. 

On May 10th, the St. Lucia School of Music will again grace the Side Stage at Pigeon Island for the entire day.  Students will perform at the changeover periods of the main stage in three 30-minute sets which likely will include some of the Jazz players on this year’s line-up. 

Meanwhile one day after the festival climaxes, the final music workshop will take place at the School of Music, in Tapion, with renowned Barbadian Saxophonist Arturo Tappin. Approximately 15 students are in line to benefit from this session with students receiving tips and techniques on jazz improvisation.  The students will range from beginning to intermediate level.

With these major components included in the festival, it is anticipated that participants will benefit tremendously from the knowledge imparted by the maestros themselves and thereby improve on their craft and develop their various skills. 

The corporate community has stepped in to make the educational component a reality. Key partners include the Bank of Saint Lucia and SOL EC Limited.