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Saturday, August 13, 2022
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REQUIEM FOR A FALLEN RISING STAR

Aug. 13, 2001 – Jamal Andrew was a rising star.
The 16-year-old Charlotte Amalie High School student was an excellent dancer and one of the top steelpan players with the Territorial Court Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra's ensemble group Pan in Motion.
He always encouraged the younger steelpan players, and they looked up to him as both a talented role model and a friend, several of his fellow musicians said. On Monday, many of his friends hung their heads and wept at the thought of the young man's death last week in the sea off Dominica.
Jamal was visiting the island with Pan in Motion and swimming at a beach east of the capital of Roseau on Thursday when a strong current swept him out to sea. The search come up empty for the body of the teen-ager, who authorities said they believe was drowned.
On Monday, members of the Rising Stars gathered at the Territorial Court building on St. Thomas to learn the circumstances of Jamal's death. Leaders of the group encouraged the young people to talk about their feelings, and the youngsters were referred to counselors if they felt they needed help coping with their grief.
Some of the young people openly wept on benches outside of the Alexander A. Farrelly Criminal Justice Building; others exchanged hugs, and still others gathered simply to talk about their friend.
"At first, I could only imagine him in my head joking around and playing, like he always did," 12-year-old pannist Tenese Lockhart said. "But after a while, I lost that image and could only see him in the water. I was so sad. It's hard to think about. He played so good. If you just told him the notes, he would find them on the pan and play them."
Jamal played the quads, the double-stacked pans that fill in the upper end of the musical scale, Tenese explained. Along with his musical talent, the teen-ager from the West End of St. Thomas was also a great dancer who performed with various dance groups.
Pan in Motion members said Monday said that the group had been at the beach on Dominica earlier during their visit and had not had any problems. But the current had picked up when they returned, and Jamal, who they said was a strong swimmer, could not resist its force.
Other members of the group tried to save him, one even grabbing him by the hand at one point. But that person lost his grip, and Jamal was again pulled away, the orchestra members said.
Esonica Veira, a 12-year-old who plays the double-second pan with the Rising Stars, said she was proud that she, Jamal and the rest of the orchestra members were working so hard to learn about steelpan music.
"This is the Virgin Islands, and this is our music and our culture, and I'm proud of it," she said. "He had talent. He was very nice, and a good person."

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