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Journalist shines at Christmas concert
Television viewers may know her only as the news anchor on CNC3, but Golda Lee-Bruce is also a singer. And she stunned patrons with her vocal prowess at the eighth edition of Carols & Classics on Steel, presented by United Way T&T at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, on Sunday. Appearing with the five-member, all-female group the T&T Sopranos, Lee-Bruce and fellow member Naette Yoko Lee (her big sister) provided the concert’s high point when they teamed up to perform the Cat Duet (Duetto di Due Gatti).
Scored for two sopranos, the work, a comic opera attributed to composer Rossini, consists in its entirety of the single word “meow,” which allowed the singers to treat the melodies in whatever way they wanted. The duo also ventured among the patrons in joyfully and craftily executing the song to win solid audience appreciation in the loudest and longest applause for the effort.
Other members of the T&T Sopranos were Danielle Williams, Germaine Wilson and Nicole Wong Chong. The group, founded in August this year, was making its debut performance. Williams and Wilson were also paired later on the programme and gave a jaunty version of another famous duet for sopranos, The Flower Duet (Duo des Fleurs) from Leo Delibes’ opera Lakme.
The Birdsong Academy Orchestra, comprising pan and conventional musical instruments, opened the playbill doing the appropriately-themed Christmas Bells Are Ringing. This set the tone for a production of high-quality entertainment offered by more than 100 young artistes, which included delightful classical music, the sweet sound of calypso, infectious parang rhythms and well-loved traditional and local Christmas selections.
United Way’s representative Ian Benjamin, in acknowledging the contributors to the programme, observed that talent seems to reside in the DNA of Trinbagonians. “So we tend to take for granted the abundance that exists in our small country,” he said. “But I think we all agree that these young people are absolutely amazing.” Among those referred to were the Eastern Youth Chorale, a movement of young people pursuing musical excellence. Among their considerable input was a harmonious version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
The Alternative Quartet—Andre Donawa, Andre Comeau, Nariba Herbert and Wasia Ward—fused the violin, viola and cello to give rich and resounding performances, both as a solo act, in doing Every Year Every Christmas, and as accompanists. There was, as well, lyric tenor John Thomas, who sang a sensitive duet with Lee-Bruce of I Believe, and an equally enjoyable one with Naette Lee of Kenwyn Hutcheon’s Christmas standard Kiss Me For Christmas.
Mezzo soprano Lillian Lopez, of Venezuela, also teamed up with Thomas to offer Funiculi Funicula, a famous Neapolitan song written in 1880, and set to music by composer Luigi Denza. Also making solid contributions to the varied programme were pianists Enrique Ali and Alan Cooper. Carols & Classics on Steel, which debuted in 2006, is United Way’s signature fund-raising event. All proceeds go toward United Way T&T for administrative expenses incurred in its programmes, which support family life, youth, and education.
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