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Her musical love affair with Mount Alvernia High School and Schools wth music pogrammes in Western Jamaica....
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How It All Started?
Professor Grimes' musical love affair with Jamaica
Three high schools and a teachers' college in Montego Bay have been earning kudos for their talented musicians. In fact, all four have established bands, and have been making their mark on the musical landscape of western Jamaica.  A fourth high school, the Montego Bay High School, which had taken the lead in establishing a band, had a student teacher from Indiana State. However, when the history of the other bands and their talented musicians are being written, one name, common to them all, will stand out, that of Elmhurst College faculty member, Professor Judith Grimes.  It all started in 1976 when as a professional musician, while on a tour, she made her first visit to Montego Bay and stayed at the Holiday Inn. Dr. Grimes met Cornwall College headmaster at the time, J. Arthur Crick and "we hit it off ­ we had a great time". When she was about to leave he told her that she "must visit the Verney House". She did and fell in love with one of Montego Bay's oldest small hotels, perched on a hill slope overlooking Cornwall.  Apparently word got around about Dr. Grimes because in 1977 she received a call from newly-appointed principal of Herbert Morrison Technical, Lloyd Whinstanley, seeking her support in setting up an instrumental band programme at the school. In the spring of '78, after several phone calls, she was back in Montego Bay with 22 pieces of band instruments.

Mr. Whinstanley felt he could find a teacher but this proved challenging because it was discovered that many of the persons who played music could not read music. Consequently, Dr. Grimes found herself in Montego Bay twice in that year doing the teaching.

A new dimension was added to the programme in 1979 when she brought her jazz band and did a performance at the Montego Bay Boys' Club. By this time Mr. Whinstanley had become convinced of the need for a trained music teacher and Dr. Grimes said she would be glad to do that. Consequently, in the fall of '79 when she was entitled to a semester off with pay as sabbatical, she took her family to Montego Bay and devoted that time to teaching the Herbert Morrison Band.

Two weeks before leaving Illinois, she got a call from Pops Lawrence of the Boys' Club asking for help in securing a band tour bus. Dr. Grimes had no idea where she would get one at an affordable cost, but as fate would have it, two days later "I got a call from a distant relative saying, 'Judy I have a school bus, do you know of anybody who need one'?"

So she "borrowed the money from my credit union to buy the bus" at a significantly reduced price to its value, and had it shipped to Montego Bay. And since she needed some cash while here, she was reimbursed in Jamaican dollars.

 Rode into school

Dr. Grimes had never ridden a motorcycle before but she had packed one into the bus and learned to ride it on the streets of Montego Bay. "As I would ride on the road, people would say, 'stop and let a man take you'," but soon she had mastered the bike and as she rode into the school the students would cheer her on.

Sam Sharpe Teachers' College was added to her list of schools in 1979 when she was wooed there at the end of her sabbatical and "for years following, up to 1991, I sent teachers here".

Dr. Grimes had found other Jamaican friends, among them Sam Sharpe's principal, Dr. Cecile Walden CD JP OJ ; music professor, the late Rev. Billy Cooke and Mount Alvernia Vice principal, Mrs. Margaret Vernon LRSM FTCL ACTL

Additionally, Mount Alvernia High School had also won her heart and with Dr. Grimes' support, had also established its own school band.  It was a win-win situation for the Elmhurst students whom she would send to Montego Bay and the schools at which they taught, as they got credits for their work here. However, Sam Sharpe took it a step further by adding music to its curriculum and so an exchange programme developed in which students from the teachers' college would go to Elmhurst.

Looking back, Dr. Grimes recalls that, "the beautiful thing about this whole thing is that I would bring my students down twice a year." In June her band would join forces with Mount Alvernia, Herbert Morrison and Sam Sharpe for a music festival and in November when the Elmhurst students had a whole week off for Thanksgiving, Sam Sharpe students would go to Illinois (the first batch of which went in the fall of 1999 -

Vinton Haughton, (Music Teacher @ Mt. Alvernia High School)

Dwayne Haughton, (Music Teacher @ Herbert Morrison High School)

Samuel Nelson (Vice-Principal @ Hasting Primary School)

Kadri-Dale Campbell (Elementary Teacher @ Sudbury All-Age School)

Carlingtom Hyman (Music Teacher @ St. James High School)

But for Dr. Grimes, "I have been coming down every year, at least twice a year since 1979." Sometimes she would be here three times in one year. She declares loyalty to the children whom she taught but admits that her love for Jamaica was fostered by "the relationship I developed with Billy Cooke and later Dr. Cecile Walden. I made honest friends; people that I enjoy sitting down and talking with."

Also, "my students always learn so much coming to Jamaica and they leave something. I think we're very similar in our backgrounds". She also found that the link developed at Herbert Morrison and Mount Alvernia High School continued at Sam Sharpe in that young students whom she had taught music at the high school were now adults attending Sam Sharpe becoming trained specialist in music education.

The link with the Montego Bay Boys' Club has also been very rewarding. For instance, while there Dr. Grimes met a young man named Carl Mathews who was very skilled in music. She talked him into taking on the job of music teacher at Herbert Morrison, something he was very reluctant to do as he did not want to become a teacher. But today, Mr. Mathews and his band have become the toast of school bands in western Jamaica and have won national medals in the JCDC Festival.

Looking at some other interesting developments during her time here so far, Dr. Grimes observed that, "everything seems so criss-crossed in Jamaica. I did not intend to come back for 25 years; I don't know, sometimes you're led into a direction and you don't know why."

Western Jamaica International Music Festival
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The Western Jamaica International Music Festival started when Professor Grimes saw the need for the students in the developed band programmes to showcase their musical talents to the wider Montego Bay community.  This festival hosted annually in Western Jamaica by several schools including Herbert Morrison showcases the innate musical talents that our students possess.  International participants include:
       Indiana State University
       Elmhurst College
       Ron Cali High School 
Local participants include:
          Herbert Morrison Technical High School
          Mt. Alvernia High School
          Montego Bay Boys and Girls Club
       Sam Sharpe Marching Band
       Montego Bay High School
       Kings Chapel Band 
The venue for concert performances for the Western Jamaica International Music Festival varies each year depending on available venues.  Concerts have been held at:
           Herbert Morrison Technical High School
           Sam Sharpe Square
       The Verney House Hotel
       Mt. Alvernia High School
       Sam Sharpe Teachers College
       Montego Bay High School
       York Castle High School Browns Town, St. Ann
       Whitehall Preparatory School Negril, Westmoreland