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Virgin Islands Students Learn About Life, Commerce and Fun on Carnival Fascination

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – Musical acts aboard the Carnival Fascination hosted a variety of workshops for students from schools across the territory this week.

In an effort to support its port-of-call communities, Carnival Cruise Line joined with the V.I. Department of Education to make possible a day-long workshop for local students to hone their musical skills.

Twenty students, one from UVI and the remainder from the four public high schools, were given a taste of the life working on a cruise ship as they toured performance spaces, discussed various career opportunities within the music and entertainment industries, honed their musical skills, and performed for their hosts aboard the cruise liner.

“I thought we would either be in one group or sections just drilling the songs, piece by piece for the few hours that we were here, but it turned out to be much more than that,” said Rachel, a junior at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. “We got to feel a little bit of the cruise experience, the people and how friendly they are.  We talked about certain details of music that I wasn’t expecting, such as learning how to stay within your group’s sound [during improvisation].”

VALUABLE EXPERIENCE: Students learn about audience engagement at the Carnival Fascination Piano Bar.

The performers from the cruise liner worked with students to help them learn more than just performance techniques, according to Ash de Neef, a guitarist for the ship’s rock band.

“The initial plan was to just have the workshop portion where we get the [musicians] together and we play music together with the students, but we brainstormed and thought we could do a tour to show them all the aspects of music that we do here,” said de Neef. “This is the first workshop we’ve done and we are hoping to expand from here. It is a great chance to give back to the ports that we stop at, especially since we come here so frequently. For the musicians especially, not only do we get to entertain our guests but we get the opportunity to connect with the talented locals of the island.”

COMMAND PERFORMANCE: Students participating in Brass Sectional Workshop.

Students such as Breanna Elie, a junior at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, were excited about their futures in music following the workshops.

“I never knew about the job opportunities. Working on the ship the pay is good, the experience is good, you’re able to travel to places you’ve never been. It reminds me to keep my mind open about different things going on in the world and that I can further pursue them,” Elie said.

Carnival Cruise Line is helping students in the Virgin Islands discover new and different career opportunities though professional development, according to Territorial Music Education Director Dionne Donadelle.

“It gives me such joy to see how happy and optimistic our students feel about their futures after meeting with the talented Carnival Fascination team,” Donadelle said. “Music and art are so important to our communities, so we are grateful to Carnival for their support.”

The day culminated in a lively jam session that provided students an opportunity to hone their craft playing alongside Carnival Fascination musicians.

Carnival Cruise Line will be hosting the students again in the spring semester where students will have the opportunity to perform for passengers aboard the cruise ship.

“After last year’s hurricane season, it’s been difficult for schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands to keep music and art programs operating at their full potential,” said Chris Nelson, Carnival’s senior director of entertainment.

Carnival Cruise Line will be hosting the students again in the spring semester where students will have the opportunity to perform for passengers aboard the cruise ship.

“Over the last year, Carnival has been providing much-needed support to young musicians while creating special moments to inspire the next generation of entertainers,” added Sarah Beth Reno, Carnival’s VP entertainment.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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