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The St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain choir will make history for this country and the Caribbean in June, when it becomes the first choir from the region to participate in the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia.
In order to make participation in the competition a reality, the Port-of-Spain school is calling on the Government, corporate citizens and members of the national community to assist in its goal of raising approximately $1 million to cover the expenses for the trip.
A total of 41 students, six chaperones and two accompanying musicians are expected to travel to Latvia, in eastern Europe.
During a press conference at the school at Pembroke Street yesterday, school principal Anna Pounder said the school had already begun fundraising events through parents.
The school will host a concert at Queen’s Hall on March 31 to raise additional funds.
With an estimated budget of over $1 million, though, these events will only make small dents, the principal said.
“Other fundraising events are being organised and sponsorship will be welcome,” Pounder said.
This is the first time in the eight years of the competition that any choir from the region has been invited to participate.
This will not be the first time the choir has participated in international festivals or competitions, having performed in Germany, Vienna and Italy in the past.
In Latvia, the choir would be participating in three events, including a Champions concert.
“We had initially registered for the open competition and we were accepted, but we received an invitation from the committee later inviting us to the Champions competition, based on the points we had amassed from our participation in other international events,” said vice principal Maritza Ramphal.
“When we heard we had been accepted we were jumping for joy.”
Ramphal, smiling proudly, said the opportunity was a great one for students, the school and the country.
Students will display national flags and this country’s national instrument, the pan, wear costumes designed by Brian MacFarlane and sing songs such as the Ganges and the Nile by calypsonian David Rudder, Magnificat by Peter Telfer and Trini by Rodney LeBlanc (Benjai).
“Our students do not take this honour lightly. They have been rehearsing every week, twice a week. It’s gruelling preparation. This event is considered the Olympics of choir singing.” Ramphal said. “With pride we will be representing the red, white and black.”
Upper Six student Anesha Romany, in an address to the media, asked for support for the choir.
“To be able to represent your country on a world stage gives you a sense of pride that few things can give you,” she said. “We do not take it lightly. We are representing home. That sense of national pride, we should all have that patriotism in our hearts.”