“Daddy, it is okay to not be smart?” my daughter Jinaki asked me this week. We were on the bed, me reading and she watching a doll video on You Tube.
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Divas deliver delightfully
For many show promoters, having a printed concert programme may not be on the front burner as a must-have for their productions, but the courtesy contributes to the enjoyment patrons may derive from the performances on the playbill, despite the popularity of the featured artistes.
This lapse was felt when the Mundo Sonoro Music Academy premiered Divas Live at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook, last Friday night. The show’s star-studded cast featured violinist Inge Schluer, and vocalists Kay Alleyne, Lilian Lopez and Glenda Collens.
The talented quartet gave highly professional and thoroughly enjoyable performances of their respective repertoires, but being aware of what they were presenting was one of the things that would have made for a much better connect with the audience.
Producer John Thomas had earlier referred to the show’s eclectic programme as a “classical crossover,” and said Divas Live was seeking to not only promote the talents of its headline acts, but also to cement a path for more people to experience and enjoy classical music. “Classical music is deeply embedded in our culture and rather than try to run away from it, we should try and embrace it,” he said.
A printed programme would certainly have helped.
Opening the playbill as guest performers were Nicole Wong Chong of the T&T Sopranos and Maegan Pollonais, who is studying music at Plattsburg University in New York. They sang the classics very well, and were heartily applauded, but very few of us knew the titles of their selections.
Appearing on stage as the first diva was mezzo-soprano Lopez, who was born in Trinidad of mixed parentage, grew up in Venezuela and now lives in Port-of-Spain. She’s known by the stage name La Mezzo, and her classical singing was powerful, composed and spectacular on the sustained notes.
Schuler followed, giving an awe-inspiring performance on the violin. Her sound was rich and robust, especially in the calypso classic Portrait of Trinidad. Schluer has performed with almost every local classical orchestra. She is also a National Music Festival champion, and a member of the newly-formed T&T National Sinfonia.
Kay Alleyne, the 2010 Digicel Rising Stars winner, showed her class as a Gospel soloist, and warmed the hearts and souls of patrons with her exceptional voice when she offered Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Paul Anka’s My Way, popularised by the late Frank Sinatra.
Easily embracing the stylings of Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone and Jill Scott after giving up being a classical singer through illness, Collens used her warm stage persona to engage and delight patrons with a repertoire of standards and own-compositions inclusive of Take Five, Golden, Rush Hour, You and Me, and I’m Every Woman.
The Mundo Sonoro Music Academy is an organisation of committed professional musicians who aim to develop the talents and skills of young people pursuing performing excellence and social development through the arts.
Divas Live was staged, over three nights, to raise funds for a musical summer camp for underprivileged children from various orphanages in Port-of-Spain.