U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Marie Damour, welcomed American jazz ensemble Sounds of A&R (S.O.A.R.) at Fiji National University’s Music School, marking the start of their tour across Fiji and Tonga.
The group which arrived in Fiji yesterday will hold public concerts and master classes with secondary school and university music students during their tour.
In her address to an audience of university administrators, music instructors, and students at FNU, Damour highlighted the importance of S.O.A.R.’s visit, noting that music sparks innovation to transform our societies, whether that empowers entrepreneurs to create sustainable and inclusive economic growth or helps us find innovative solutions to the climate crisis. Jazz is much more than music: it is the very essence of democracy.”
As a special treat for music enthusiasts, S.O.A.R. will be performing a lunchtime concert at the prestigious FNPF Food Court on Wednesday, April 19 at 12:30 pm. The tour will culminate with a free public concert at Nuku’alofa’s iconic Digicel Square in Tonga on April 26 at 5 pm.
S.O.A.R. is part of the American Music Abroad (AMA) program, which is funded and administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). S.O.A.R. is the brainchild of vocalist April May Webb and trumpeter Randall Haywood, who are partners in both music and life, and have come together to create a distinct sound with aspects of Contemporary Jazz, Soul, R&B, and Gospel influences in their work.