The show was a highly credible. There was tonal quality, colour, verve and vitality. It was music that soothed, and music with tempo and vitality. An outstanding mark of a 50th anniversary that had the Queen’s Hall audience on its feet, applauding vociferously. In short it was Bravo! Bravo!
Having been there the night before, the gardener who planted that mustard seed, former music teacher and choir director, Jocelyn Pierre, must have been proud as punch, to see and hear what has emerged from Warner Street, Port-of-Spain.
Well, what we heard and saw on Saturday night was high quality music and performance.
One wondered what would former music festival adjudicators Dr Sydney Northcote, Dr Russell Shelley, Dr Havelock Nelson, Dr Olive Lewin, Prof Melvin Hurst, and others of their ilk, would say in their judgement of Saturday’s performance. And what’s more, after listening to the Junior Choir, one wondered why more youngsters in this country are not locked into music.
The audience was first put through a soothing period with “The Heavens Are Telling” from Haydn’s “The Creation.” Next we were served “Pie Jesu” from Faure, followed by “Hallelujah” from “Christ on the Mount of Olives” by Ludwig van Beethoven, then “Kyrie” and “Quoniam” from the “Nelson Mass” by Haydn. It was in this piece that we heard one of the jewels of Marionettes – Feryal Qudourah – such outstanding soprano voice, backed by a quartet – Shannon Navarro, soprano; Diahann White, alto; Roger Henry, tenor; and Tyler Joseph, bass.
During the session just prior to the intermission, we were pleasantly treated to what one may see as Dr Roger Henry’s forte, in pieces like “Soon Ah Will Be Done,” “The Armed Man,” “Deep River” featuring soprano Hermina Charles. Then there was Hogan’s “The Battle of Jericho,” followed by “Carmina Burana” excerpts – “Tempus est Jocundum” sung by Garfield Washington (baritone), and “Dulcissime” featuring Feryal Qudourah.
The two Qudourah sisters – Feryal and Sameerah – can be considered Marionettes brightest jewels.
Just prior to the interval, guest members of the choir – local and foreign – joined in for two pieces “O fortuna” and “My Tribute.”
Following keenly in the musical steps of their elders, the audience was treated to pieces by the well-trained youngsters who comprised the children’s choir.
With good intonation, expression and much verve, they gave the audience “Mary Had a Little Blues” “This Old Man” and excerpts from Carmen – “March of the Street Children”and “Here They Come.”
Prior to the curtains drawn, the audience was brought nearer home with some sizzling tempo and brilliant singing in “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “The Gods Love Nubia” from Aida, followed by Trini rhythm in “Sayamanda” by Andre Tanker, a Desmond Waithe arrangement.
There was also “The Ganges and the Nile” by David Rudder, closing with “Rhythm of a People” by Ella Andall, arranged by Waithe.
All in all, the programme was well knit; well rounded by excellent singing. The programme was indeed a masterful 50th anniversary presentation by Marionettes – a choir that means so much to Gretta Taylor, Susan Dore, Joanne Mendes. Jocelyn Pierre, June Williams-Thorne, Caroline Taylor, etc, etc, etc.