Maestro Kevin G. Tomlinson and the Grand Bahama Youth Choir (GBYC) are preparing to celebrate their Eighth Anniversary of Music and Performing Arts Development in the community by hosting a two-part concert.
Growing by leaps and bounds over the past eight years, Tomlinson noted, “The GBYC began on February 27, 2009 in the Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King Auditorium with 55 young persons and has advanced tremendously in more aspects than one.
“At that interval the group decided to come together and work diligently toward displaying their combined talents at the 2009 Local Government Conference; definitely I am extremely proud of the fact that we have remained a close-knit, well disciplined body whose relationship continues to grow and improve eight years later.
“The quality of young people involved in the GBYC from its inception, particularly as it relates to those members that have matured and pass through the program earning college scholarships, employment in the music and performing arts arena and/or pursuing other interests inclusive of marriage and starting a family is absolutely phenomenal.
“Oftentimes past GBYC members reach out to new up-and-coming members as well as myself and state that they were prepared for many of life’s challenges thanks to all the hard work and lessons taught during their time in the organization.
“Certainly, as the Executive Director of the GBYC, I appreciate all the success testimonials of past members as well as those currently enrolled and I constantly inform young people coming into rehearsal and auditions that they are a part of a growing and enhancing legacy.”
While the GBYC’s legacy of success over the past eight years is due in part to the dedication of Tomlinson, he revealed that the majority of it is predicated upon the sacrifices, commitment and unwavering discipline of the students along with the support of their parents and guardians.
Whether or not any of the GBYC members go on to become performing artists, musicians or stage and theater personalities there are lessons that they learn on a daily basis to help them navigate the minefields of life.
Anything that the GBYC members become engaged in definitely is going to require commitment and according to Tomlinson there are going to be many intervals in which they would have to push through fatigue to attain greatness both now and along every step of the way into the future.
“Over the past eight years as the GBYC executive director, I cannot count the moments that I felt like throwing in the towel or reneging on a commitment but I had to hold fast to the love I have for the GBYC and each members’ successful development pushing past the fatigue to offer them the very best opportunity to excel and set a standard for themselves they would be proud to live by.
“For me the definition of commitment is love and I exercise my love for the GBYC every day in spite of the challenges and even though the road has not always been easy, when you are at the fore with youngsters depending on your leadership it is imperative that you do what is right.
“The GBYC must persevere through it all whether or not you lack the tools, materials, funding or motivation necessary to go on or despite that persons may become angry with you as the leader because they cannot understand your vision, which has happened quite a lot over the past eight years.
“Personally, I am proud to see that the young people, that have been and are a part of the GBYC continue to excel like college student Brysha Ingraham and Janae Cash, who have gotten married, started their own family and every summer return to the GBYC to work with their students at the GBYC International Creative Arts Network (ICAN) Camp.
“Furthermore, the young men, who were considered at-risk youth living in the inner city communities of Grand Bahama whom I encouraged to audition and become members of the GBYC have gone on to prove all doubters wrong and excel in numerous aspects of their lives,” said Tomlinson.
Measuring the GBYC’s success over the past eight years rather differently than that of choirs to the north of The Bahamas, Tomlinson noted driving Bentlys, living in mansions, having one’s name in lights or bank accounts full of cash, stocks, bonds and mutual funds does not necessarily equate great accomplishment instead he measures it by watching all that he and other leaders in the community have taught come a live in the hearts of their pupils, which make a lasting impact and transforms them for the better.
Eight years later, Tomlinson is elated to know that if Christ would call him home, he would have left behind a legacy that challenged the GBYC to think differently, survive difficulties, inspire others to be the best whether or not someone turns around and says ‘thank you.’
A 2016 Cacique Award nominee, Tomlinson thanked parents for partnering with him to make the GBYC a success over the past eight years, which has allowed members the opportunity to travel the world representing not only the island of Grand Bahama but the Bahamas at large, earning the respect and admiration of dignitaries and celebrities like Bishop Marvin Winans, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, Pastor Smokie Norful, Myles Jr. and Charisa Munroe and so many more.
Admittedly for a lot of the GBYC past and present members it has not been an easy road, however, many express their gratitude to Tomlinson and their parents for being the driving force of inspiration that continues to propel them forward while providing golden nuggets of wisdom to carry them through and passed on to their peers, family, friends and fellow legacy builders.
“Celebrated in two stages, the GBYC will put on a Grand Eighth Anniversary Concert in May which the entire island is invited to attend and planning has already begun to put on the first phase of a GBYC Reunion Concert that will span over the next two years leading up to our 10th anniversary.
“The GBYC’s operating slogan is ‘One choir can change a school, motivate a community, inspire a country, unite the world in song; together lets sing and be that choir,’ and I am happy that that stands abundantly true for us through the grace of God.
“Daily I am stopped by sanitation workers, nurses, clergymen, movie theatre attendants, car wash personnel, law enforcement officers, teachers, civic organization leaders who express their pride in the GBYC and encourage me to keep going and do the same for past and present members so this bodes well for the impact we are having in and around the community.
“Yes, it has been eight years and we are pushing forward to another 80 more and I salute other leaders like Reach Out Youth Organization founder Dudley Seide, Legends Marching Band director Leslie McDonald, Scouts Association of the Bahamas District Commissioner Reginald Dean and Patrick Ferguson and so many others who give of their time to make a remarkable difference in the lives of our youth the future leaders of our tomorrow.
“Definitely the GBYC is making a difference across this island bringing happiness, demonstrating the we have to change our definition of devastation, as we have some of the world’s most gifted creative and talented people, who are productive and if we nurture them, steering them along an upright path, then Grand Bahama could embrace its new comeback and success.
“Believe me it is happening right before our eyes in fact, it is like when you plant a seed in the ground; you may lose sight of it and forget about it or think it may not grow but it will once you invest in its environment ensuring the right conditions are in place for it to grow and mature into a strong formidable tree, bearing fruit in due season,” Tomlinson declared.
The efforts exhausted by the GBYC is working as well as other organizations that are transforming the community, hence Tomlinson congratulates his members, thanks God for His mercies and looks forward to the continued partnership and encouragement of the residents as they celebrate eight years of Music and Performing Arts Development through youth.
Published Wednesday, March 1, 2017