Friday, August 19, 2016

UVI Voices of Inspiration Community Choir Rocks St. Kitts Audiences

Choir Invited to Tour the Caribbean and Beyond

Members of the Voices of Inspiration Choir Performing on St. Kitts

The University of the Virgin Islands' Voices of Inspiration Community Choir took audiences on the island of St. Kitts on “A Musical Journey Through Time” and shared their powerful, spirit filled voices.
Between Aug. 3 – 8, the Voices of Inspiration Choir, presented two spectacular and culturally enriching performances.  The 28 member choir, comprised of alumni, current students and community members performed  first at the Calvary Baptist Church in Sandy Point on Friday, Aug. 5, and then in the elegant Saba "St. Kitts" Ballroom at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort Hotel on Saturday, Aug. 6.  
The choir opened its concerts, which doubled as educational journeys through cultural heritage, with songs of Africa.  Next came the spiritual roots of gospel music, which segued into the sounds of classical, jazz, bebop, hip-hop, Caribbean-flavored gospel, and more.  The effect was a crescendo of music, drama, theater and liturgical dance that captivated the numerous people who attended these magnificent events.
“The overarching purpose of this trip was to represent UVI and to showcase opportunities that are available for advancement at the University,” said Kevin Dixon, a UVI graduate student and member of the choir.  “While in St. Kitts we appeared on four local radio programs to promote the concerts, but also to promote UVI,” he said.  “Since many of our students come from the Federation, we want to foster a great relationship with the community and government leaders.”   
 An exquisite choreography of movements, sounds and spirit integrated the concerts, which were expertly and artistically led by Josephine Thomas Lewis, UVI music program instructor and director of the UVI Voices of Inspiration Choir.  The “unity of the community” was also on vibrant display throughout both evenings, reflecting UVI’s ambassadorial spirit, along with a special dash of St. Croix flavor since the choir is based on the Albert A. Sheen Campus. 
Musical Ambassadors for UVI Performing
          at St. Kitts Marriott Resort Hotel
“The five days we spent in St. Kitts were wonderful because we showcased the best vocal talent the University has to offer,” said Felicia Emmanuel, a recent UVI graduate and member of the choir.  “But it was also deeply satisfying to be ambassadors for the University.  The show itself was moving and the audience truly didn’t want it to end.  I met one UVI alumna who recounted that there were no music classes being offered when she attended.  She felt so proud to see the tremendous talent that had come from her alma mater, and how young people are doing positive things in the community.”
Distinguished leaders – His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton, Governor General of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Honourable Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis and UVI Alumnus – were joyful members of a spirited audience on Saturday night at the St. Kitts Marriot, which included many distinguished UVI alumni.  Special thanks in the customary UVI style was extended along with gifts to St. Kitts community supporters and production sponsors at the closing.  
"These successful and well-attended concert events once again reflected UVI’s commitment to community engagement as the only Historically Black College and University, and Land Grant Institution in the Caribbean,” said Dr. ChenziRa Davis-Kahina, director of the UVI Virgin Islands and Caribbean Cultural Center. 
After the performances, the UVI Voices of Inspiration Community Choir received invitations to perform on Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Queries about sharing this exceptional concert in other locations throughout the Caribbean and beyond are also pending. 

Choir Director Josephine Thomas Lewis Thanking Dr. Simon
B. Jones Hendrickson (far left, red shirt) and
Other Concert Tour Supporters
Major contributions for the concert tour performances were provided by platinum sponsor, Dr. Simon B. Jones Hendrickson, former dean of the UVI College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and by former chief economic policy advisor for the Office of the Governor of the Virgin Islands.  Crucial logistical and spiritual support was provided by the Calvary Baptist Church of Sandy Point, St. Kitts, and by the UVI St. Kitts Nevis Alumni Association.  Additional financial support for the tour was also provided by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, UVI Research and Technology Park, Institutional Advancement, and the Office of Administration and Finance.
For more information, or to become a part of the music program, please contact Josephine Thomas-Lewis at (340) 692-4110, or via email at  The choir is open to students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members.  See this link to our Facebook page: UVI Voices of Inspiration Choir Facebook Page .