Saidah Long was 19 and pregnant with her first child when she applied to the then National Housing Authority (NHA) for a home.
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Zuwena’s fund-raiser for education
Aspiring singer/songwriter Zuwena James will be holding a second concert to raise funds to continue her education at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, in 2017. An Evening of Harmonies will take place on January 13 at Garden Jewelz Foundation in Point Fortin from 6 to 8 pm.
The featured guest artiste for An Evening of Harmonies will be songstress Marge Blackman. She will be backed by live band First Response, who will also perform at the event.
In addition to James, there will be performances by Bertille Hunte, K2 Blessed and Bryant Henry of the Mime Ministry Team.
James said after CAPE, she stayed home for a year to decide her future career path, and realised she definitely wanted to study music. She applied to several colleges abroad and was accepted at a few, including the prestigious Howard University in Washington DC.
As a member of the Trinmar Chorale, she attended a choral workshop put on by UTT and SUNY Plattsburgh in 2013 and inquired about the possibility of applying to the college. “A past student of the school, John Thomas, introduced me to Dr Karen Becker and Jo Ellen Miano who are faculty members at SUNY and they just sat down with me on the steps of NAPA and gave me some brochures about the school, and I applied and was accepted.”
James said when she got to SUNY, she had to start learning music from scratch, as she hadn’t ever done music before. “I had to learn basic piano in my first year, which is mandatory, basic piano, along with fundamentals of music, general understanding, reading music and music theory.
In order to understand the oral skills behind it, I had to learn to sight-read as well as take dictation, where they would play something and I’d have to notate it on manuscript paper.
My instrument is vocals so I have my vocal classes where my range and my tone have been improved.”
She said she was also part of the music department’s choir and is heavily involved in the administration and the performance of the gospel choir.
James said this experience has taught her how to put on her own shows here in T&T. “I work in the office of the gospel choir there, so I have a lot of hands-on experience with the choir director and the artistic director to know how I should put together a program, how I should get in contact with people for sponsorship, advertising, stage crew, managing my time, making sure the show runs smoothly and nothing goes over time or anything like that. I learned that a lot from gospel choir at that school and I will continue to learn more.”
James said when she’s finished at SUNY, her ultimate goal is to become a recording artiste. “As part of the gospel choir I’m also the praise team leader so I work out harmonies and put together arrangements, which I’ve found that I love doing. I also plan to continue to contribute to the development of the Arts, especially in Point Fortin.
I want to continue to help my country grow and learn and improve, and in turn help improve myself, so my goal is to come back and teach here. I would love to open up a music school in the Borough of Point Fortin, a school of music where there’s dance, a theatre department, an acting department, I have a whole vision of how I would like it to be, and that way there’s something for South in addition to Sapa.”
For more information, call 315-2152/784-1878/389-0672 or email [email protected]