You may not have heard of The Alpha Boys’ School in Kingston, but you’ve probably heard music that wouldn’t exist without it. Many great Reggae and Ska artists (such as reggae deejay Yellowman and legendary Ska group, the Skatalites) went to the esteemed music school. Another name you need to know? Sister Mary Ignatius Davis—the beloved nun who helped turn The Alpha Boys’ School (established in 1880) into a musical force to be reckoned with. Though Sister Mary passed away in 2003, her deep love for music and her ability to share that inspiration continues to ignite passion and determination to the students.
The Alpha Boys’ School, recently been renamed the Alpha Institute, has repositioned itself. Formerly a residential facility to at-risk and orphan boys, Alpha Institute now serves as a vocational school—focusing on social support and skill-training such as woodworking, landscaping, screen printing and even fashion. But the core of The Alpha Institute remains rooted in music, as Joshua Chamberlain, Director of The Alpha Institute, tells Outpostings, on a recent trip to the school. “Alpha provides the space and the place for young men to create the connections and the skills they need to get a job,” says Chamberlain.
The Alpha Institute showcases some of its products made onsite.
Exciting developments at The Alpha Institute continue to attract eager young men. A recent Kickstarter raised more than $20,000 to construct a radio and production studio for Alpha Boys’ School Radio. The station, which you can now stream online, attracts over 200,000 listeners a month. “Every single song played on the station has at least one past student playing on the track,” Chamberlain says.
Stream Alpha Boys’ School Radio below!