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RC church makes ‘joyful noises’
The Roman Catholic church in Trinidad and Tobago is not known for making noise about anything, except maybe some social issues which arise from time to time. In the very recent past, however, there have been a lot of “joyful noises” emanating from local talent which forms part of the cultural menu being served up to patrons who have attended the two concerts already staged, or will attend any of the remaining three being put on by the Archdiocese.
The concert series, titled “Make a Joyful Noise,” was launched with a sold out opening show at the National Academy of the Performing Arts (Napa) in Port-of-Spain on April 12. The second concert at the Naparima Bowl in San Fernando on April 20, was also well attended. The third concert in the series takes place this evening at Presentation College in Chaguanas.
This evening’s concert will feature acts like Roy and Gloria, La Familia de Carmona, Raymond Edwards, Heeralal Rampartap, Savodaya Dance Company and sweet steelband music from the Angel Harps Steel Orchestra. Concert four will take place at Trinity College East in Trincity on May 6, while the closing programme is scheduled for Tobago at the Signal Hill Comprehensive School on May 20, at 8.30 pm.
Next week at Trincity, patrons will hear the St Charles Borromeo Choir from Tunapuna, the evergreen Felix Roach on piano/keyboard, an extempo contest between Lingo and Black Sage and the Eastern Chorale. Also performing will be former calypso monarch Karen Asche, Crazy Catholic, Muhammad Muwakil and the melodious sounds that will come from former Panorama champions Republic Bank Exodus Steel Orchestra.
This cultural mix is the brainchild of Archbishop Joseph Harris, who has insisted from his very ordination as Archbishop of Port-of-Spain that such a programme was necessary if the church was to successfully carry out the mandate of Synod 2009, Second Pastoral Priority—Revitalising Catholic Culture and Identity.
So if you have been listening carefully over the past few weeks, you would have heard some sweet, soulful and joyful noises coming from concerts held at various venues throughout the Archdiocese. These ‘noises’ are coming from musicians, steelbands, vocalists, choirs and individuals as they showcase the talent that is resident in the Roman Catholic church in Trinidad and Tobago.
While the “Make a Joyful Noise” concerts are primarily aimed at leading the Archdiocese’s charge in the revitalisation of the varied cultural traditions of the Catholic church and at the same time serve to encourage Catholics not to be afraid to wear their spiritual identity on their chests, they were also meant as part of the church’s contribution to celebrating the golden anniversary of our nation’s Independence.
These concerts have also succeeded in exposing the latent talent in the church, which over the years has seemed to have gone silent. The hope is that the success of the series would encourage Catholics and their various groups in the country to go ‘viral’ and come up with programmes and projects which would raise the image of the church insofar as the cultural traditions are concerned.
Already there have been public events which have been organised by parish groups that shows awareness that the Catholic church is still very much alive in Trinidad and Tobago. Recent examples of such projects were reflected in the Panyard Crusade in Petit Valley at the Valley Harps panyard in the parish of St Anthony. While this was done in collaboration with the Evangelisation Commission, it impacted heavily on local culture.
Another public expression of tradition and culture, which resonated loudly in the church community was the celebration of Divine Mercy on April 15 at La Vega Estate in Gran Couva, central Trinidad, where Vicar General Monsignor Robert Llanos celebrated Holy Mass in the open air at a specially prepared area of the scenic grounds.
As the church moves to highlight events rich in cultural traditions, more and more groups are being encouraged to launch programmes and projects in keeping with the second Pastoral Priority.
VERNON KHELAWAN is media relations officer at Catholic Media Services Limited (CAMSEL), the official communication arms of the Archdiocese of Port-of-Spain. Khelawan has held several editorial positions in the Caribbean.
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