Just heard about this video thats been made about Alpha Boys school by one Drop Productions. As many of us know Alpha was responsible for the whose of reggae, many of the great reggae artists went to this school. The school does a great job and as the film shows the students are crying out for a music studio, so anyone with any musical instruments or sound equiptment please donate to the school, the adress and contact info is listed at the end of the film, i'm sure there must be plenty of people out there who have benefited from the Reggae artists that they brought up and taught, it would be nice to see the school get that recording studio.
The Alpha Boys School in kingston has produced some of the finest musicians to come out of Jamiaca. Founded in the 1880s by Sisters of Mercy nuns, it has been the nursery for the luminaries of Jamaican jazz, ska and reggae.
Four of the original Skatalies went there, Tommy McCook, Lester Sterling, Johnny Moore and Don Drummond as well as countless other great singers and players. The list reads like a Who's Who of reggae: Johhny Osbourne, Yellowman, Leroy Smart, Rico Rodriguez, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Eddie 'TanTan' Thornton, Owen Gray, Bobby Ellis, Tony Gregory, Floyd Lloyd Seivrieght, 'Deadly' Headley Bennett, JoJo Bennett, Winston 'Mr Fix It' Francis, Karl Bryan and Cedric 'Im' Brooks all attended Alpha.
In the jazz world, Joe Harriott, Bertie King, Wilton and Harold Gaynair, and Dizzy Reece and the first ever black man to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Leslie Thompson, back in the 1940s was an Alpharian. Alpha boys were generally either orphans or wayward children, or from very poor backgrounds... although Alpharians are keen to point out that not all boys who went there were problem kids, some just went because it was a great school!
Mentored by their beloved Sister Ignatius who ran the music department for 64 years until her death in 2003, she is the undisputed Godmother of reggae and ska. In 2007, the Alpha Old Boys Association (UK) put on a concert in honour of her life, a gathering together of the tribe, many of whom had not seen each other for 40 years.
The Alpha Boys set the benchmark for the standard of music coming out of Jamaica, helping send reggae into orbit. They worked behind the scenes in the studios of Kingston as session musicians and arrangers for literally thousands of classic and lesser known tracks. Even the unofficial Jamaican national anthem and possibly the most famous horns riff in the whole of reggae music, the Abyssinians' Sattamassagana was arranged by 'Deadly' Headley Bennett who has been honoured with an Order of Distinction.
This little film aims to bring the great work of Alpha to the attention of the world. The school is always struggling to make ends meet, so if you feel moved, please forward a donation of either cash or an instrument, and help continue Alpha's legacy of providing the backbone for great music in Jamaica.
Mr Richard Foran, Alpha Boys School, 26 South Camp Road, C.S.O. 8896, Kingston, Jamaica email: r.foran@cwjamaica dot com
Cheques payable to Alpha Boys School.
This film is produced by One Drop Productions.
Producer: Adam Reeves
Production Manager: Alice Ross
Cinematography: Ben Cole
Edited at Basic Production, Brighton
Thanks to Milton and Suzanne Moore and The Alpha Old Boys Association (UK)
Contact Adam Reeves by sending a message via youtube or at alkreeves@earthling dot net