Superior Court of the Virgin Islands
Rising Stars

Youth Steel Orchestra
"Nothing is so complicated that it cannot be simplified by hard work."
- Hon. Verne A. Hodge, Founder

Program Overview
In the summer of 1981, Judge Verne A Hodge, then Presiding Judge of the Territorial Court of the US Virgin Islands set out to change the course of the youth that were appearing in front of his judicial bench. Using the adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," he began an experimental steel drum program, with the goal of preventing school dropout and juvenile delinquency among our youth. The program's focus was to recruit students between the ages of 10 and 18 from public, private, and parochial schools and help guide them to successfully complete their high school education. The program that initially started as a summer project became so successful that it was then made into a year round program, under the name of the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra.

With every program that is started, there are rules and regulations that govern its operation to make it successful. Rising Stars members are required to comply with the Rising Stars Rules and Regulations, the Rising Stars Code of Conduct, and the Rising Stars Motto that places a high priority on educational achievements. Those students who need academic assistance must attend the weekly Rising Stars Tutorial and Enrichment Program that is, tutorial sessions that are held in classrooms at the band's headquarters or "The Panyard" as it is affectionately known.

The program also offers assistance in preparation for SAT and other placement tests for college and university enrollment, including assistance with applications, financial aid forms and guidance in obtaining scholarships. The success of this program over the last twenty-four years has produced a 90% graduation rate among its members. Members who graduate from high school are replaced each year through the orchestra's Summer Recruitment Program, where members must learn about the history and development of the steel pan instrument, and are given an introductory course in music theory, while learning basic pan playing techniques.

Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra
Main Contact
Physical Address
Mrs. Adelia Henneman
Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra
Alexander A. Farrelly
Justice Center
3rd Floor, South Wing
Room S303
5400 Veteran's Drive
St. Thomas, VI 00802
(340) 774-6680 x6438
Mailing Address

P.O. Box 70
St. Thomas, VI 00804

St. Croix Contact

Natasha Williams-Modeste, Director

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