Corporate sponsorship and the arts

Brian Mac Farlane - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Brian Mac Farlane - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE EDITOR: While driving one morning recently, I heard on the radio an advertisement for Brian Mac Farlane’s upcoming show.

While happy to hear about it, I was struck by the long list of sponsors mentioned. Obviously that indicates there is a great deal of money that needs to be spent upfront for a show of this calibre.

I immediately got a flashback to this year’s Music Festival, the fertile soil where the young talent of our country is nurtured and given the exposure for the very opportunity of performing for the creative geniuses in the future.

The two experiences, I am sure, would be chalk and cheese, because the very thing missing from this year’s festival was exactly that – corporate sponsors.

I have been involved in Music Festivals since a child – as a performer and within the last six years (since 2018) as a parent. I remember performing, as a child, before quite a number of people, both on the piano for Marian Osbourne and once in the primary school choir for Mucurapo Girls’ RC. They are memories I will never forget.

I actually smiled this year as the same song I sang, The Chimpanzee, was once again performed and I sang along, remembering every single word. That alone indicates how memorable the experience was: in forging the ability to perform in public, cultivating a love for music and the arts, and instilling the healthy spirit of competition, which in turn I have wanted to pass on to my own children.

Since 2018, my children have been able to benefit in the same way from this competition. Even with the pandemic, the Music Festival committee worked its magic to keep the competition alive in online versions, for which its members should be commended.

This year, however, there was a notable difference. There was absolutely no publicity. No one I spoke to was even aware that the festival was taking place. In addition, less schools countrywide were knowledgeable about the dates the music syllabus and registration information were posted, and hence had less time to prepare for performances.

Apart from the challenges this presented in terms of lack of patrons and participants for the shows, this was the first time the festival committee was not able to even have a physical programme of events. For a parent with more than one child performing, this was a frustrating and challenging experience of trying to organise and plan, for both the students and the parents.

I take this opportunity to appeal to the same corporate sponsors who are assisting Mac Farlane and the many other sponsors who are interested in preserving the natural, amazing, artistic talent that TT possesses, to please assist with the 37th biennial Music Festival which will be held in 2026.

We must be part of the change we want to see, and not just sit back and lament. Our young people are just waiting for the opportunity to use their God-given talents, to develop the skills needed to be confident on stage, to compete against their peers and to fine-tune their craft. The Music Festival creates the space to do just that.

Many of our bright international stars started in the very same Queen’s Hall stage years ago. Please, let us not permit lack of funding and poor organising to curtail the chance for many others to get the opportunity to shine.

Our sweet TT needs to look into all aspects of our culture to channel our youth away from the crime and violent options that are facing them. The arts has always been an excellent alternative. Let us help to contribute, as the motto for Music Festival states, towards "pacing our youth on the path to excellence."


via e-mail


"Corporate sponsorship and the arts"

More in this section