Family still searching for two new candidates to award music scholarship. The Black Angel Foundation has entered its third year of its scholarship awards.
Organized as a means of carrying on the legacy of their son and brother, Joseph ‘Black Angel’ Buchanan, who was a musician, songwriter, producer and record label owner, the foundation has managed to not only keep his spirit alive but actualize his dreams through helping others with a similar passion from a young age.
“There are days when my heart aches and days when my heart smiles, but most of all days when I am just filled with love when I’m having wonderful memories, because I do know one thing, I do have an actual angel watching above me.
I can actually feel him,” shared his brother Jonathan Buchanan during a small event held in the gardens at Bridget Sandals on Valentine’s Day, which doubled as a memorial and award ceremony. “This day has become very, very important to myself and my family; it is a day of love, and I guess if he was to go on any day, this is the day he would have wanted to have go on,” he continued.
What started in 2020 by giving funds towards the tuition of three eligible students at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has grown into music education programme dubbed the Budding Musicians Programme, as the Buchanan family established a music room at their Abbeydale Road premises so that children could become students of the musical arts. Buchanan shared, “Joseph had a heart of gold.
He will be missed forever; the foundation was started by our family and friends but also the little people – the children – who have a passion for music and caring about people and they will learn who [he] is through the foundation. Day by day we keep getting stronger, the foundation keeps growing.” Last year, three additional children were awarded scholarships, making a total of six.
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Their ages ranged from five to 10 years old. Part of the scholarships given by the foundation includes piano tutoring from Delia Harrison, who is certified by the Royal School of Music in London. This year the scholarships were renewed for siblings Joshua and Kenya-Marie Johnson, eight and 11 years old, respectively, who were the only two from the group of 2021 awardees to complete the beginner’s course. They will go on to Grade One in the piano lessons.
Impeccable Understanding of the Black Angel Foundation Scholarship
The Johnsons’ siblings were awarded certificates of completion for the beginner’s level and they also did a short recital for the guests who gathered. It was revealed that Kenya-Marie is on the autism spectrum, and she displayed impeccable understanding of putting music theory into practice as her fingers gracefully danced across the keys and she added soft vocals as she performed.
According to co-founder of the Black Angel Foundation, Andrea Davis, it was an aspiration to award six candidates again this year but they are still in search of two potential, young musicians to hone their talents. “What makes them eligible is the age, of course, as well as need and their passion,” Davis told The Gleaner.
She added, “The other four did not complete the programme due to unforeseen [reasons]. However, over this past year, both Joshua and Kenya-Marie demonstrated a key interest in wanting to learn to play and they apply themselves well.”
Kaisha Hutchinson, a grade-eight student at the Holy Trinity High School, and Kazi Gayle, a first-former at the St George’s College, were the other two recipients of Black Angel Foundation music scholarships, which covers one year of piano lessons (given twice a week), encompassing theory, music appreciation and practical exercises.
A very proud El-dorad McCallum, mother of Joshua and Kenya-Marie, shared that the programme was a roller coaster of emotions, but that she could not allow her children to quit prematurely.
“I realised the passion they had for music; and we, their father and I, knew we had to allow them to complete it. I’m really overjoyed for them, especially for Kenya-Marie as she was most times unsettled and fussy but she most of all has – let me not say surprised me, but exceeded expectations,” she said.
“This music scholarship and tutoring programme provided by the Black Angel Foundation is an amazing gesture. And I’m sure there are many programmes out there, but that they are not getting enough publicity and I wish for them to get more of that, to increase the knowledge of those potential creatives who need it and can benefit from it, to hone their talents,” McCallum continued.
Persons who – or know of children who – have an interest, between the ages of 10 and 18, may send a video of approximately one minute sharing the reason learning the piano is a dream and a brief introduction of who he or she is. These will be reviewed by members of the foundation and the Buchanan family.
The videos can be shared via WhatsApp to (876)448-0787 by noon on Monday, February 28 to qualify.