The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park celebrates the 25th anniversary of its designation under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) Act on 26th February 2018. The 41,000-hectare property is Jamaica’s only National Park and its 26,000 hectare, core Preservation Zone was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in July 2015. The inscription recognises the outstanding universal value of the site’s cultural and natural heritage making it the only “mixed” World Heritage Site (WHS) in the Caribbean and one of only 35 of the over 1,000 WHS globally.
The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) a non-government organisation and registered charity manages the National Park and World Heritage Site on behalf of the Government of Jamaica. It is organising “Symphony in the Mountains” to be held at Holywell on Sunday, 25th February between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Park. In addition to the soft opening of the newly constructed Visitors’ Centre at Café, built with funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the event which is supported mainly by the Ministry of Tourism will feature a number of exciting cultural activities and youth talent:-
Between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm the audience will be treated to “The Abeng Tour” – a selection of classical, popular and alternative music – instrumental and vocal, culminating in two movements of the Maroon Symphony – an orchestral piece written by Jamaican composer, Andrew Marshall. The Abeng Tour is the creation of Steven Woodham, Director of the Immaculate Conception High School (ICHS) Symphony Orchestra. To achieve the full complement of instruments the Orchestra partners with the Jamaica Defence Force Military Band and for the Maroon Symphony, Master Drummers from the Charles Town Maroon Drummers. The vocalists will be the ICHS Glee Club and the Kingston College Chapel Choir. The Abeng Tour is an amazing and interactive experience for music lovers of every genre.
The award-winning documentary by Roy T. Anderson “Queen Nanny – Legendary Maroon Chieftainess” will be screened twice in the new Visitors’ Centre and there will also be complimentary Nature Trail Tours. Food and drink, local produce, art and craft will be available for sale and a variety of exhibits on display in the new Visitors’ Centre and activities for children.
Between 3:00 and 5:00 pm there will be a show of local, youth talent including the ALL4BETA (All For Better) group of drummers from Portland under the tutelage of Mark Knibb. This show will climax with the talented and well-toured Charles Town Maroon Drummers and Dancers.
In addition to the Ministry of Tourism/Tourism Enhancement Fund which is providing the major funding, sponsors are the: Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, National Water Commission, Dairy Spring/Hydrology Consultants Ltd., Jamaica Energy Partners and PROVEN Ltd. Holywell is the National Park’s main recreational area and at 1,100 metres above sea-level will be a cool venue for this musical event. Parking will be available at Newcastle, the Jamaica Defence Force’s Military Camp and shuttle buses will take patrons over to Holywell. Excursion buses can be booked through the JCDT.