Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2013 Contents A10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, June 15, 2013
A successful career for musical prodigies in T&T
is possible, and the Heroes Foundation is taking
our country s talented youth as far as Europe to
help make that dream a reality.
Today, the non-profit organisation is sending two
musicians, Sameer Alladin and Harley Robertson, to
France and then Germany, as part of its first-ever
International Music Mentorship Opportunity pro-
At a function at Tatil, Port-of-Spain, yesterday,
chairman of the foundation, Philip Julien, said Alladin
and Robertson were selected as beneficiaries of a
grant from the French Embassy, and were headed
for "a musical mentorship opportunity of a lifetime."
Alladin, a violinist, and Robertson, a double bassist,
were selected by a panel of international musicians,
University of T&T professors, and Maestro Kwame
Ryan, an internationally renowned conductor from
T&T. The two will eventually join Ryan for a concert
in Bordeaux, France on June 22.
Robertson, 29, who will do a master s in music
performance at Florida International University with
a full scholarship, starting in August, said being
selected to perform at the international destination
concert was humbling.
"We get exposure to something that you wouldn t
normally find in Trinidad," he said.
"So I think being able to go to Bordeaux and expe-
rience a culture and see the obvious differences, but
also the similarities, is quite encouraging."
Alladin, 22, agreed that being selected was encour-
aging for a classical musician.
"Part of being a musician is to be exposed to pro-
fessionals and be immersed in that kind of environ-
ment, so the opportunity to go there is phenomenal,"
Alladin has dreams of becoming a conductor one
day, and said the foundation had given him the chance
to see professional conductors in action.
"It s truly a gift."
He has been accepted into the University of Bristol,
where he will study for his master s in musicology
starting in October.
The programme was in line with the foundation s
commitment to establishing projects that inspire
youth to be proactive and promote positive changes
in their areas of influence, even in music.
Robertson, who credited his parents for his success,
encouraged others to take their talents all the way.
"I d like to encourage people to make the most of
whatever skills they have, and really ensure they
maximise all the opportunities provided to them,"
Two of their mentors from UTT were present for
the ceremony, and said the decision to send Alladin
and Robertson was no mistake.
Jonathan Storer, a concert master at UTT and
Alladin s violin mentor, said the future conductor
was always asking the right questions to improve his
"He s actually one of the most focused individuals
I ve come across."
Storer said Robertson grew tremendously as a
musician over the last year and a half.
"He s really focused and he understood what needed
to be done, and he s done it."
Eleanor Ryan, a mentor and Principal First Violin
at the university, said their focus and commitment
would lead them to success.
"It s incredibly hard work to make a career in
music but I don t think that either of those boys is
scared of the work," Ryan said.
The foundation is now planning its second musical
mentorship initiative and will hold a benefit concert
on October 13 at the National Academy for the Per-
forming Arts, Port-of-Spain.
Young musicians off to France training
Chance of a lifetime
Chairman of Heroes Foundation Phillip Julien, left, and executive director Ann
Marie Narine speak with beneficiaries of International Music Mentorship
Opportunity Harley Robertson and Sameer Alladin, during a function at Tatil
Building, Maraval Road, yesterday. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
The Heroes Foundation is a registered non-profit, non-
governmental organisation that was established in
October 2002 to serve the youth of T&T. The foundation
creates and promotes mentorship activities; like the
music initiative and their Big Brothers Big Sisters
programme, to nurture the next generation of "heroes." It
seeks to make youth more engaged in society so as to
create a positive change at both a community and
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