Following are a few press releases submitted by Dr. Floyd Jackson, of the Free Music School (FMS.) They celebrated Christmas in the way they know how, through food, singing and music and giving. Thank you to Dr. Jackson for submitting the articles and photos!

Musical Christmas

Press Release -- Free Music School - December 25th, 2009 - The Free Music School Performing Artist Quartet spent the entire day, December 23rd, 2009, serenading San Pedro Town with festive Christmas carols. The Performing Artist Quartet consisted of Dr. Floyd Jackson, FMS Founder and Music Director, a Juilliard-trained violinist and flautist; Dennis Wolf, Jr., a San Pedro High School Alumnus, university student studying abroad, and an accomplished guitarist; Dennis Ritchie, a San Pedro High School Student, a Free Music School Student, and an accomplished guitarist and percussionist; Cindi Ashton, a professionally credentialed teacher from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and master class voice teacher at the Free Music School.

San Pedro High School Student Dennis Ritchie and several other students at San Pedro High School receive high school credit for taking a free music and musical theatre course at San Pedro High School every Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Theatre is taught by veteran artist Bradley Haylock. Artists and students will present FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at a Valentine Concert at San Pedro High School Auditorium in 2010.

The Free Music School is open to elementary school students every Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and adult students from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at San Pedro High School. Also, individual instruction may be arranged at your convenience for a nominal fee.

Annual Christmas Dinner
Jewish and Garifuna mothers come together for Christmas

A Jewish and a Garifuna mother cooked turkey dinner for the Free Music School's Seventh Annual Christmas Party held on Christmas Eve at 5:00 p.m. in San Pedro Town's Central Park. The coming together of these two cultures, the Jewish and the Garifuna, at Christmas asserts that the fondest music in life is love. Love is universal, without ethnic boundaries. Love is not color struck. Love is all inclusive, the very essence of diversity itself.

    Lydia is a Jewish American mother who has a five-year-old daughter Sierra Sky and devoted husband Robert. They demonstrated love that knows no bounds for San Pedro Town by preparing free turkey dinner and serving it to whoever came to the Free Music School Seventh Annual Christmas Party. Sierra Sky is FMS's youngest student. Lydia, Sierra Sky, Robert, his sister Cindi and their mother Jo Mama are newly arrived from the United States and feel at home in their already-beloved San Pedro Town. Prior to this heroic, unselfish act of Love, Lydia and Sky had celebrated Hanukah, the Jewish festival of lights that signifies God's miracle of making a one-day supply of oil for lamps last eight days while the Jewish people were trapped in the temple by their enemies.

    Handah Dunn is a Belizean Garifuna mother who has an adult daughter Virginia Melendez, an eight-year- old daughter Nicole, a five-year-old granddaughter Wyhonni and a devoted husband, George. George and daughter Nicole have elected to take private lessons together through the Free Music School. They receive lessons at home at their convenience instead of coming to free Wednesday group lessons at San Pedro High School. Handah, assisted by her daughter Virginia, like Lydia and Robert, demonstrated love that knows no bounds for their beloved San Pedro Town by preparing free turkey dinner, Belizean Garifuna style, for FMS Seventh Annual Christmas Party, thus propagating the Spirit of Christmas throughout our town.

    Thank you Lydia and Handah and all mothers of Christmas.

San Pedro Sun

A stellar performance! Bravo!

More than one hundred children gathered at the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve at 5:00 p.m. in Central Park to join in the Free Music School Seventh Annual Christmas Celebration. There were easily, at least, another hundred onlookers, other San Pedranos and tourists. The program consisted of a talk about the real meaning of Christmas and an opening prayer from Pastor Ian of Living Word Church, Christmas Caroling, gifts, turkey dinner, dessert and Christmas cheer.

    So their hearts would sing "How great is our God!", Pastor Ian told the children that though 'tis the season of giving and receiving, the real meaning of Christmas is centered on the magnificence and wonders of our amazing God Who Himself is Love. Every moment of life is a gift from Him. Moreover through the work of Jesus and His loving Father, our greatest gift awaits us - life, not just yesterday and today but forever. Then, the children, under the direction of teacher Cindi, sang: "Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus. Happy Birthday to you, and many more." The children sang a dozen Christmas Carols. Santa's stand-in Robert Kyle Ashton III called himself an elf, Santa's helper, and distributed about a hundred gifts that took Teacher Cindi four hours to wrap. There were not enough gifts to go around. The last gift went to a little boy guided by his father Cesar, the first student of the Free Music School back in 2003. Robert quickly announced that although he had no gifts left, he had lots of food to give to the children, nearly one hundred dinners. When the food ran out, Robert distributed cookies donated by Casa Pan Dulce Bakery, and his wife Lydia poured tall glasses of Christmas cheer for the children.

    Although the downturn in the economy took its toll, the children were happy and the community came together through our many patrons. Accolades go out to, among others, Southwind Realty, Blue Water Grill, Belize Bank, Ecologic Divers, Dr. Lerida Rodriguez, Ambergris Hopes' Clinic (Drs. Tina & Daniel Gonzales), Mayan Princess, Spindrift Hotel, Exotic Caye Resort, Coral Beach Realty, Belizean Art, The Baker, Wings and Estel's.

    Happy New Year to all! Please join us at San Pedro High School Wednesday afternoons and evenings, make arrangements for private music or acting lessons by calling #663-1927, e-mailing [email protected], and check out our website at If you are able, please donate much-needed musical instruments through Colville Young's Music Store in Belize City or Wings in San Pedro Town. Keep the hearts of our children singing.