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According to Dr. Ashburn Pinnock, Principal of the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College and guest presenter on the Western Region leg of the Bob Marley Symposium 2011, “Robert Nesta Marley, no doubt, was the most inspirational entertainer that ever lived.” Pinnock was addressing high school students from the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Trelawny and Westmoreland at the Lucea Anglican Church Hall in Hanover.

He further went on to acknowledge, “One of the things about Marley which I would like Jamaican young people to emulate is the fact that he read. In fact, the lyrics from his songs were taken from a wide cross section of world literature which suggests he was an ardent reader.”

In his presentation Dr. Pinnock dubbed Bob Marley ‘A Man of All Seasons’ as his life and work saw him wearing several hats to include but not limited to the Poet, Sociologist, Historian, Comforter, International Citizen, Ambassador and Peace Maker. For instance, in his role as historian, Marley utilized the song Buffalo Soldier to accurately depict the history of blacks in the USA who went in a white dominated field of the Army and fought in the US Civil War.

After Dr. Pinnock caused attendees to ‘Open Their Eyes and Look Within’, the Song Arrangement Competition gave the theme more credence as high school choirs from Troy, Herbert Morrison Technical, Hopewell, Spot Valley, and Lacovia delighted the audience with renditions of songs such as; So Much Trouble, Redemption Song, Natural Mystic, Lively up yourself, Time Will Tell.

The judges’ unanimous decision in the end awarded first place to Spot Valley High School for their medley of Marley song’s which included ‘Get Up Stand Up’, ‘Lively Up Yourself’ and ‘Natural Mystic’. Second place was awarded to Herbert Morrison Technical High School with third place being awarded to Troy High School.

Each year the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission stages four regional Symposia and Song Arrangement Competitions in commemoration of the birth of the Hon. Robert Nesta Marley birthday celebration which falls within Reggae Month. Its main aim is to promote and facilitate awareness of the Legend’s music and by extension our rich cultural heritage.

The first in the series of events for 2011 was held in the Northern Region at the St. John’s Anglican Church Hall, St. Ann on February 1. While The Central region’s symposium was held on February 3 at the St. Gabriel Anglican Church Hall, May Pen. The final staging was held on February 4 at the Lucea Anglican Church Hall, Hanover.

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