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Episode 162 - Oscar Dames

Everything Band Podcast

Release Date: 05/18/2020

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Oscar Dames is a music educator in Nassau, Bahamas where he serves as a lecturer at the University of the Bahamas after recently retiring as the band director of C.R. Walker Senior High School. He has a fascinating story and is also the author of book titled Oscar's A+ Band Director Guide: A Veteran Band Teacher's Guide to Teaching Music.

Topics:

  • The unique logistical challenges of living and teaching in the Bahamas and the nature of the school situation in the islands.
  • Oscar’s background growing up and how he started on percussion, switched to clarinet, joined the Defense Force band, and eventually got his degree in music and began teaching.
  • The story of how Oscar built a terrific music program at C.R. Walker Senior High School, including the a marching band to serve the Bahamian culture.
  • Oscar has done it all as a band director, arranger, performer, instrument repairman, etc. and he’s written a book about it!

Links:

Biography:

Oscar Dames is a certified teacher and is now the Dean of Scholars at Akhepran International School in Nassau NP, Bahamas. He also is a part-time music lecturer at the University of the Bahamas in the School of Communication and Creative Arts. He holds an AA (Music) and a Bachelor of Education degree from the College of the Bahamas, and a Masters in Music Education from Vander Cook College of Music in Chicago.

Oscar was C.R. Walker Senior High School’s Teacher of the Year 2010-2012. He was the school’s band director and coordinator for the School’s Junior Junkanoo program, setting a new record when the school became the only high school to win first place in three consecutive Junior Junkanoo parades.


A big believer in culture and community building, Oscar spends much of his time teaching community bands, as he is the band director for the Nassau Village Urban Renewal Band, Assistant Director of the Royal Ambassadors Band, and the leader and founder of the Fiesta Fun Junkanoo Group.

Oscar was a member of the Saxons Superstars Junkanoo Group, beating the tom-tom and bass drum before taking over the “Brass Section,” and setting a new record winning five consecutive best music awards, which remains today. Oscar also plays solo clarinet and bassoon with the Bahamas Symphony Orchestra.

Oscar Dames graduated in 1988 from R.M. Bailey Senior High School with the Most Outstanding Music Award. Upon graduating, he joined the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in 1989. Oscar served for 14 years in the Defence Force where he was a member of the Hull Engineering Department, and he also played with and served as a training officer for the Defence Force Band. Upon transferring from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to the Ministry of Education, Oscar enlisted in the Royal Bahamas Police Force Reserve on 17 May 2005. He is a member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band and serves as education instructor for the Police Reserve Band section.

Oscar is also a Journeyman plumber registered with the Ministry of Works, Nassau Bahamas. He holds a second degree black belt in Judo; and he enjoys teaching, swimming, and playing music in various ensembles.

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