New England Urban Awards and Barbados Music Award recipient Elan Trotman is giving back to his homeland Barbados by not only inviting his famous friends such as AJ Calloway and Bernie Williams to attend Barbados Jazz Excursion but also by providing training and funding for children to play and own musical instruments.
The locally registered charity Head Start Music Programme, which Trotman established last year, caters to children of primary school students ages seven to 11 and offers them the opportunity to study an instrument before they start secondary school.
Elan told Barbados TODAY about the charity and what made him decide to start it.
“Head Start Music Programme started in 2016, we had a gracious donation from an instrument company in North America in the state of Utah called Cannon Ball Music, they make my saxophones. They donated about 40 instruments – brand new instruments and that is how the programme started,” the professional saxophonist explained.
Trotman said parents of the children who are a part of the programme don’t have to pay for the instruments or training as it was his way of giving back to Barbados.
“There is no fee to be a part of Head Start as far as renting the instruments, paying for the lessons, it’s all free. So that is the beauty about Head Start Music. [It is an investment] in the future of Barbados through music and music education,” he said.
The charity is funded by his non-profit organisation Never Lose Your Drive Foundation and donations from corporations and individuals.
“The programme is funded by my foundation which is based in Massachusetts. It is a non-profit foundation where we get donations . . . to fund the programme,” he said.
The students are trained by talented local musicians such as David Weatherhead, Farakhan Stephens, Cherise Roberts and Kweku Joline. They showcase the fruits of their labour as they opened Barbados Jazz Excursion over the weekend and received a standing ovation for their rendition of Walk Holy by local gospel music icon Sister Marshall.