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Future stars headline birdsong concert

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The fourth annual birdsong benefit concert will be held at 7 pm on June 22 at the National Academy of the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain. 


For this edition titled, The Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost, the featured performances are vocalist Nyol Manswell and pan soloist Derrianne Dyett, the first two beneficiaries of the birdsong Scholarship Programme. 


This fund was established in 2010 to finance tertiary studies for graduates of the band’s unique community-based music education programme. Both these young performers came through the ranks of the birdsong Music Academy which now provides a comprehensive year-round programme of activities. 


The programme exposes participants to a structured learning experience focusing on music literacy, certification, professional development, character-building as well as opportunities for participants to perform with and learn from a core of experienced and talented musicians. Two hundred students are currently registered in the Saturday programme and the recently inaugurated After School Programme, a release from birdsong said. 


Manswell, who headlined the first edition of the benefit concert in 2011, is completing his Berklee College of Music Bachelor’s degree programme. Manswell has won the 2014 Stars of Tomorrow contest, placed second in the annual Young Kings competition and featured at this year’s Jazz Artists on the Green concert. He has mastered a broad repertoire ranging from calypso to jazz, from gospel to R&B and a wide variety of musical genres. A prolific composer, this charismatic performer is looking forward to the release of his debut album within the next year. 


A regular soloist in the birdsong Small Ensemble, this 2014 Benefit Concert will be Dyett’s local coming-out party as she steps into the spotlight as a leader. She brings the deft touch of an Andy Narrell, informed by the interesting harmonic directions taken by a Rudy “Two Left” Smith. Combined with a rare musicality and an eclectic playlist, Dyett’s initiation promises the unveiling of a fresh and important young artist to the pan pantheon. 


Under Richard Quarless’ musical direction, birdsong Steel Orchestra opens the concert and will explore a musical path less trodden by the steelband. The pans will be augmented by an in-house complement of brass and woodwinds drawn from both students and faculty and will explore local, regional and America songbooks. 


Internationally renowned and celebrated jazz pianist Raf Robertson, who has played a seminal role in the evolution of birdsong’s music programme, will complete the evening’s playbill. In keeping with birdsong’s focus on young musicians, he will be supported by a cast of exciting young turks. 


Showtime is at 7 pm and tickets are available at the NAPA Box Office and the birdsong panyard at $200 each. For further information, call 678-4657 or 682-9959.


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