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Sir Willard White Comes Home

Earl Jarrett (left), General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society, in conversation with Sir Willard White, Jamaican-born British bass-baritone.

Jamaican-born British bass-baritone, Sir Willard White, OM, CBE, has returned to Jamaica to perform at a classical concert in Kingston, to raise funds for the Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMC).    

Sir Willard White in Concert’ will be performed at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Sunday, August 14, under the distinguished patronage of the Governor General, His Excellency, Sir Patrick Allen and the Most Honourable Lady Allen. The performance is being hosted by the Arts Foundation in collaboration with the Jamaica National Building Society. 

Earl Jarrett (right), General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society, shares thoughts with (from left) Pat Ramsay, Chairman, Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College; Paul Issa, Chairman of the Edna Manley College; and  Sir Willard White, Jamaican-born British bass-baritone. They were at Kings House on August 3, at the launch of a fund raising performance by the opera singer at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Sunday, August 14.

“Sir Willard White is one of the world’s great bass-baritones, known for his enormous rich voice and powerful stage presence,” said Earl Jarrett, Director of the Arts Foundation. The opera singer is donating his talent in the service of his art here Jamaica, Mr. Jarrett said at the launch of the concert, at Kings House on August 3. 

He noted that many students who matriculated at the culturally-based EMC have gone on to excel in their respective fields of the visual and performing arts, locally, regionally and internationally. And, individually and collectively, they have brought honour to our country. 

“I actually had been longing to return to Jamaica,” Sir Willard stated. He had no hesitation in accepting the request to do the benefit concert when he was approached a year ago as he said. 

“Today a wonderful circuit has been created,” he declared. The circuit started decades ago when as a student of Excelsior College, he was offered a scholarship to study at the Jamaica School of Music, precursor to the EMC.  

“I am proud that I am here to contribute to the encouragement of students to answer the call of their heart,” Sir Willard stated. “Thank you that I can be a part of it.” 

Pat Ramsay, Chairman of the Arts Foundation, who had originally approached Sir Willard about the performance, said that the proceeds from the concert would go towards developing a scholarship fund for talented students in danger of discontinuing their studies at the College due to financial hardship.

She said, “That should not be allowed to happen, therefore, we are getting the seed money to start the scholarship fund.”

Burchell Duhaney, Principal of the EMC, said that in the face of tight budgets and the challenges being faced by its students, the College had established the Arts Foundation in order to find alternative means for institutional funding. He said the ‘Sir Willard White in Concert’ performance marked the public inauguration of the Foundation, and he thanked its members for their contribution.

 Information provided by: Andrew Green,
                                                Jamaica National Building Society


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