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Hitting the right notes

LaKwan Bain gets to further his education through music
  • LaKwan Bain, 20, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music on a full scholarship at Maryville College. In his first semester at Maryville College, the sophomore got the opportunity to perform a special holiday piano duet with college president Dr. Tom Bogart. The duo performed “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and the performance was posted online. LAKWAN BAIN

Guardian Lifestyles Editor

Published: Jan 04, 2017

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The pursuit of dreams and aspirations is indeed possible, if you ask LaKwan Bain. The 20-year-old, who for a time was discouraged, has come to realize that doors will open once you put your mind to achieving goals, and people see that you’re determined to go somewhere in life. He believes that there are people who are waiting to give you a push toward your dreams, as has happened to him, and he is grateful for it.

Bain’s musical prowess was noticed by former University of The Bahamas (UB) music lecturer Dr. Christy Lee, who spoke to Bain about the opportunities available at the institution to further his education when she left the country to return to the United States; she told him about the music scholarships he could apply for.

He applied to Maryville College and traveled to Tennessee in March 2016 to audition. His repertoire included works by Beethoven and Mozart. He also added an organ piece and a jazz improvisation that he arranged for the audition. The end result was a full scholarship valued at approximately $32,000 per year to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He transferred from UB to Maryville.

Bain has to maintain at least a 3.00 grade point average (GPA) to retain his scholarship.

“It was a bit surreal at the beginning getting in, but it hit me because my mom [Jacqueline Bain] did not get a chance to go to college, and my dad [Karven Bain] did get the chance but couldn’t finish because of financial complications, so the ability to actually go to school and have all of my financial needs met is just amazing to me,” said Bain.

Even more amazing was the opportunity to perform a special holiday piano duet with college president Dr. Tom Bogart in Bain’s first semester at Maryville College. The duo performed “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and the performance was posted to the school’s page and on YouTube.

During the two-minute-nine-second performance, Dr. Bogart said he had the pleasure of making a little holiday music with the Bahamian student, and encouraged alumni, parents and friends to donate to the Maryville Fund that would allow for continued support of students like Bain.

“Although it’s certainly possible to play piano as a solo instrument, my preference is always to make music in collaboration with others. At Maryville College we talk a lot about collaboration. We look to businesses and organizations for their support, of course. But it is the partnerships… the duets that Maryville College has with individual alumni, parents and friends that are foundational in making this place rigorous and relevant, innovative, accessible and supportive to talented and promising students like LaKwan.”

Bain was notified of the opportunity to play with the president via email from the president’s office.

“I was like ‘wow’! We set up two pianos on the main theater stage and we did a duet of the song ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’,” he said.

The opportunity to perform with the president, he said, served as validation that dreams are in fact possible.

“I’ve been in music as a profession between five to seven years and have seen so many people leave it and go and pursue something else and totally give up on music as a dream,” said Bain, who was involved in music ministry at his dad’s church; plays at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church in Lyford Cay; and serves as music director at the Youth Development Through the Arts under the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, among other roles.

He added: “I’ve had moments in my life where I thought that it wasn’t achievable, but coupled with the scholarship and now this [playing with the president] just serves as a confirmation that dreams are actually possible if you want to pursue them.”

Bain, who began playing the piano at age six, said there were many times in his life when he would get discouraged about music. In fact, when he enrolled in UB, then the College of The Bahamas, he went in as an engineering major.

“Something inside of me just kept pulling me to the music department so I switched in my first semester and everything is just history.”

Bain said dreams can come true and are indeed possible.

“Doors will open once you put your mind to what you want and people see that you’re determined to go somewhere in life. There are people who are just waiting to see you and just waiting to give you a push, and I’m grateful for that. And I want to encourage all young Bahamians to pursue their dreams and aspirations because they are indeed possible.”

But his dream would not have become reality if he had not been academically sound. Bain said he’s always been a bright child whose parents always “preached” the importance of education.

“All through primary and high school, having all those years with them [parents] always on my back, when I went off to school it was no different — I was self-motivated, and it was just something that I needed to do be a successful student.”

Bain’s ultimate goal is to be a minister of music.

“I want to open up a school for church musicians — to train them, because I don’t know of many people that are actually doing that,” he said. He said college life has also provided him with the opportunity to interact with students and professors from different cultures, races and creeds.

“It was interesting and exciting for me to interact with different people who aren’t necessarily like myself, but we work together to promote a common good.”

He also said education is crucial and that people with a love for music should know that there are schools that offer music scholarships, including UB.

Bain returns to Maryville College at the end of the month to begin the spring semester.


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