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Stars above and beneath

Monday, June 11, 2018
The National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) performs a lively number. PICTURE DION ROACH

Starry night and sweet songs contributed to an almost perfect night at the St James Amphitheatre for WeBeat St James Live18 production of Pan Jazz and Honoree’s Night, on Thursday evening. Performing to an almost filled, open-air facility, the show commencing promptly at its advertised 8 pm opening, was the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO).

Appropriate to the grandeur of the event, the NSSO musicians were satorially attired in our national colours of black and red, their perfectly tuned chrome and silver instruments radiant as if to symbolise the purity that is white on our flag. As sharp as they looked, theNSSO musicians sounded even sharper as they read music scores going through the repertoire as directed by Akua Leith.

NSSO was also joined by vocalist Kay Alleyne whose pore-raising rendition of Summertime awed the crowd to loud applause. Not to be outdone, smooth, seductive tones emanated as well from the saxophone of acclaimed Anthony Woodroofe, aka “Tony Paul”. Equally esteemed guitarist Dean Williams also performed a solo piece accompanied by NSSO.

One is left to wonder why more isn’t done by the powers that be to propel NSSO unto the frontburner of national and international recognition as a musical entity and cultural ambassador of our country. One can only hope that this group of musical literate musicians are not left to fall by the wayside in the manner Divine Echoes were discarded.

The Codrington Pan Family was next on the programme and delivered an enthralling performance with pieces such as Pan In Harmony, a percussional composition entitled Rhythm Vibes. Undoubtedly a family enterprise that has been expanding, Yvette Superville, a Codrington son’s mother-in-law, was also accompanied by the band when she delivered a vocal piece. The versatility of this family outfit, especially that of young, former Steelband Music Festival champion Keisha Codrington, is nothing short of amazing.

Southern sensation Moore’s Music Production, a band comprising of family members as well, inclusive of Candice, Diana, Eleanor, Spud and Vanessa Moore, also brought their unique flavour to the blend.

As if patrons didn’t get their money’s worth in the previous spectacular performances, reigning National Panorama (Small) champion Golden Hands Steel Orchestra culminated the programme.

Directed by Franka Headley, the band’s repertoire included a solo performance by assistant director and arranger, Vanessa Alexandra Headley. Golden Hands showed the pedigree of a true champion.

Thursday night’s programme also included a honour acknowledgement of St James’ Power Stars Steel Orchestra, formerly Blue Stars Steel Orchestra.

On hand to receive the awards presented by Port-of-Spain Mayor Alderman Joel Martinez and St James Improvement Committee chairman Cecil Tomkin were Power Stars’ executive members Gregory Lindsay and John Harris.

Apart from the fantastic music on stage and honoree segment, hand crafted items by indigenous culinary delights by Heaven Bliss and Diamond Vale artisan John Cooper were also on sale, as well as delicious corn soup by popular St James rastafarian vendor Jumbo.


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