College of Music and Fine Arts partners with St. John's College in Belize on associate degree in music

Through a partnership with Loyola University New Orleans' College of Music and Fine Arts, students in Belize will now have a chance to earn an associate's degree in music at the Junior College of St. John's College (SJC), a Jesuit school located in Belize City, Belize. This is the first music education program in the entire country of Belize, Central America.

Loyola faculty recently partnered with SJC to establish the new associate degree in music and are training Alobi Young, the director of the new music program, who is receiving his Master’s degree at Loyola in Music Performance. The new associate degree program is scheduled to begin in Fall 2017 with twelve Belizean students enrolling from across the nation. Associate Dean Dr. Victoria P. Vega, visited Belize twice to facilitate a collaboration between the two Jesuit schools and Loyola has assisted in curriculum development, collection of books and materials and instruments. Faculty from Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts will continue to collaborate with SJC faculty and students as the program develops and grows.

This past week, St. John's College just recently dedicated a new "Music Centre," built to support this new Associate degree program in Music. The new Music Centre, the first in the country, includes practice rooms, a piano lab and music theory classrooms. A grand celebration was held, led by St. John's President, Mirtha Alicia Peralta, and with seven Loyola faculty and staff visiting for the dedication. St. John’s College is a Jesuit school supported by the Jesuits of the Central Southern Province, in which Loyola University New Orleans is also located.

This new SJC associate degree in music will prepare students for careers in music education in primary and secondary schools as well as related areas such as performance and music industry. Once completed, the students will be able to complete their bachelor’s degree at any institution that has a degree in music, including Loyola University New Orleans. Loyola will support this initiative by offering a scholarship once every two years to a graduate of this new SJC Associate degree program, allowing the students to complete their bachelor’s degree at the College of Music and Fine Arts.

"It's an exciting new initiative and collaboration between two Jesuit schools," said Father Ted Dziak, S.J., vice-president for Mission and Ministry, who helped facilitate the agreement. "It will have a ripple effect across the country and allow St. John’s College to train future music educators in every town and district. Music is such a large part of the Belizean culture, and this new music degree program will train leaders to foster music and the arts across their nation."

LISTEN TO A STORY ABOUT THE PROGRAM ON BELIZEAN NATIONAL TV

St. John's College music auditions

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