Alpha Institute Renovations Completed Thanks to Digicel Foundation
The Alpha Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica—now known as Alpha Institute—is a Catholic educational institution that, over its 140-year history, has become a renowned school known for its unique musical curriculum. It influenced the creation of both ska and reggae musical genres. Its school band, Alpha Alumni Ensemble, started in 1892 and is still running. Former students who make up the group are now professional musicians. Famous alumni include Yellowman, Dizzy Reece, Feluke, Tommy McCook, Lester ‘Ska’ Sterling and John Arlington “Dizzy” Moore.
This institution has had an immense impact on Jamaican music, culture and the lives of underserved and at-risk youths.
In 2014, Alpha’s residence was closed and the school remained in operation under the name Alpha Institute. The school planned to repurpose the space but faced major hurdles—including funding—to achieving that vision. The goal was to outfit the newly available space with musical equipment, create a performing and rehearsal centre and much more.
Denis O’Brien and the Digicel Jamaica Foundation stepped up to help, sponsoring the school and providing the resources to fully transform the old residential building into a full music centre. The project, which was completed in 2020, is dedicated to Colm Delves, Digicel’s former CEO, who passed away. Dubbed the Colm Delves Centre, it will help Alpha Boys School to not only continue, but enrich their educational offerings to the often at-risk young men the school serves. The renovation also creates the potential to monetise the Colm Delves Centre, putting this new Alpha Institute facility on the path to self-sufficiency.