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Williams shows his excellence at music fest

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Jdani Williams, left, with the guidance of adjudicator Prof David Hoult goes through the performance score. PHOTOS: SEAN NERO

The philosophy of the Scotiabank-sponsored 31st Biennial T&T Music Festival is based on a famous quote by late British music adjudicator Sir H Walford Davies: “The object is not to gain a prize or defeat a rival, but to pace one another on the road to excellence.” 

Monday’s morning session of the festival’s Championship Week held at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain, saw these qualities in there richest form when young saxophonist Jdani Williams from Tobago found himself in difficulty. 

Appearing in Class JR-D9 Woodwind Solo for competitor 15 years and under, playing the test piece Air, Suite No 3 by JS Bach, it quickly became evident that the contestant and festival accompanist Enrique Ali were not together. That’s when co-adjudicator Bryan Husband called out to Williams to cut the performance. 

By this time flautist Khai Alcantara had already taken the stage and delivered his interpretation of the test piece Le Cygne from Carnival of the Animals. Alcantara and Williams were vying for the Marion Osborne Memorial Trophy. 

Husband and co-adjudicator Prof David Hoult began to confer. Husband asked the accompanist to compare his score with the performers as they seemed to be playing in different musical keys. But on realising that the exchanges were too open, Hoult rose to his feet, trotted down the stairs onto the stage to try and work it out. 

On chatting with Williams and Ali, Hoult returned to the performer and could be heard asking if he was willing to transpose the piece while in the spotlight. 

Seemingly confused by the happenings at centre-stage, the expression of the young entertainer suggested he did not favour that option having rehearsed his version of the song to perfection. 

Hoult returned to Ali and asked him to transpose the accompaniment in the musical key Williams might have grown accustomed to. The talented pianist had no objection to this. 

Hoult then communicated to the audience that they were working on, a solution to the on-stage dilemma and believing they had arrived at one, said, “Let’s give it a try and hope it works.”

It turned out that when Williams rendered his performance during the qualifying round in Tobago, he did the piece unaccompanied. 

When the performance began, it was impossible to recall all that went before. Williams played the melody that he had worked on so diligently with his music teacher, while Ali, sat at the piano transposing, yet playing as though what was unfolding in the spotlight was planned.


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