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Alpha Boys School Launches Online Radio Station
The Alpha Boys School is as an intrinsic part of Jamaica’s popular music tapestry with past students at the Kingston school have helped to shape the history of ska, rocksteady reggae and even dancehall. The school is taking its musical footprint into the digital realm with the launch of the Alpha Boys School Radio.
Alphaboysschoolradio.com is an online radio station that will celebrate the school’s important legacy by broadcasting music from the the catalogues of alumni of the Alpha Boys School, several of which are among Jamaican music icons and cuts across the different genres of popular Jamaican music, but also dating to the big band era when jazz was prominent. The station will therefore serve up jazz, ska, rocksteady, reggae and early dancehall.
The list of alumni includes members of The Skatalites; trombonist Don Drummond, trumpeter Johnnie "Dizzy" Moore, tenor saxophonist Tommy McCook, alto sax Lester Sterling, and trombonist Rico Rodriguez, who studied under Drummond and later became an essential component of the U.K. group The Specials.
Other alum include Cedric 'Im' Brooks, reggae veterans Leroy Smart and Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, rock steady’s Vin Gordon and Winston 'Yellowman' Foster, the original King of the Dancehall. Jazz giants Jo Harriott, Dizzy Reece also attended Alpha Boys School.
Of course, by going online, rather than free to air, the station is accessible to listeners from across the world.
The equipment and expertise to create and man the station were donated by Michael Wadleigh, the Academy Award winning director of the documentary Woodstock. The broadcast studio equipment, social media platforms, and online distribution are being provided by Wadleigh’s US non-profit, Gritty, and its radio station WXGR. They will also provide training for the students.
“Alpha's graduates have played a part in so many genres of Jamaican music that we can safely say Alpha Boys School Radio is a go-to source for the best of Jamaica's music and culture” said Sister Susan Frazier, the Alpha Boys School Director.
“And since we are a small school in a small city on a small island, the radio will be a powerful platform to share Jamaican culture with the world,” Sister Frazier continued.
The radio station was launched on Tuesday, 17 September, 2013.