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Tuesday, February 20, 2018
The National Philharmonic Orchestra performs David Rudder’s ‘1990’. Photo by:AYANNA KINSALE

A call has been made to the private sector, as well as the State, to invest more in the T&T Music Festival.

At the opening of the 32nd edition of the Festival at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on Sunday, vice-chair of the T&T Music Festival Association Simon Wiltshire made the appeal, pleading for corporate T&T to contribute to the event that showcases the talented in voice and instrument.

He also made a gentle jab at the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly in his remarks.

“I am heartened to see that Government sponsored the Chutney Soca Monarch. I look forward to her kind support in this (Music Festival’s) regard,” he said.

Wiltshire told the small audience, who included Zalayhar Hassanali, widow of the late President Noor Hassanali, that much-needed funding would assist in granting musical bursaries; operations of the Music Festival offices in Tobago and South as well as showcase talents regionally and internationally.

In her remarks, Gadsby-Dolly encouraged further partnerships between the private and public sector. While she pledged that the Ministry will continue to provide support “to discover, create and realise dreams,” the Minister also issued a challenge to the private sector to find ways to support the Music Festival.

“It could be transport of students, it could be as a chaperone, it could be as presence to support the performers,” she said.

Roxanne De Freitas, chairman of the Scotiabank T&T Foundation echoed similar sentiments.

“We must find ways to filling the seats. Everyone is involved,” she said. She added that Scotiabank stood ready, willing to support more “if we can grow to magnitude.”

Music, all the speakers commented, enhanced mental awareness, social activity and improved mathematical skills in children.

Gadsby-Dolly noted the theme for the festival – The object is not to gain a prize or defeat a rival, but to pace one another on the road to excellence – was a noble sentiment in today’s environment in which duty to man is often castigated or destroyed.

She stressed that music was the balm for a troubled heart in these wary times. “If ever our souls needed healing, it is now,” she said.

The Music Festival, which started in 1947, has seen talented performers grace its stage. Tenor Eddie Cumberbatch, soprano Hermina Charles, pianist Alan Cooper and violinist Keisha Martinez who performed on Sunday, were winners at the Festival. Brother Resistance, David Rudder, Fay-Ann Lyons, Ken Philmore and Mungal Patessar were mentioned as past participants. Mention was also made of music teachers who helped mould local talent over the years – Professor Dawn Batson, Pat Bishop, Jocelyn Carr-Sealey, Enrique Ali, Lindy Ann Bodden-Ritch.

The opening night also featured the National Philharmonic Orchestra and its String Ensemble, led by musical director Dr Roger Henry. The Malik Folk Performing Company did a drummology set.

Rowena Wattley, chairman of the South Trinidad Music Festival Association, said drummology was a new category for 2018.

Adjudicators for the Festival are Belinda Mikhall of England, Dorothy Howden of Scotland and Dr Richard Tang Yuk of Trinidad. Mikhall is a recipient of the Hopkinson Gold Medal for her final recital at the Royal College of Music. Howden, a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, has adjudicated at festivals in Scotland, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

Tang Yuk, a product of the TT Music Festival, holds a Doctoral degree in Choral Conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and is a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (UK).

For the further information on the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival, go to

Today’s Music Festival Schedule

North: Queen’s Hall

1.30 pm

JR-B5 Girls Vocal Duet (U13)

JR-C3 School Choirs: Girls (U16)

JR-A10 Folk Song Solo (U20)

JR-B1 Boy’s Treble Duet (10-12)

8 pm:

OP-B1 Ladies Vocal Duet

OP-E3 Chamber Music Duet /Trio

OP-A9 Contemporary Religious Solo (Ladies)

OP-A6 Bass Solo OP-C14 Calypso Chorale (w choreography)

Tobago: Montgomery Moravian Church

8.30 am

JR-A5: Girls Vocal Solo, 8-10 yrs

JR-A6: Girls Vocal Solo, 11 to 12 yrs

JR-B5: Girls Vocal Duet, 12 yrs & under

JR-E5: Primary School Instrumental Ensemble

JR-C13: Junior Parang Ensemble, 19 yrs & under

12.30 pm

JR-A1: Boys Vocal Solo, 8-10 yrs

JR-B1: Boys Vocal Duet, 12 yrs & under

JR-A2: Boys Vocal Solo, 11 to 12yrs

JR-D17: Steel Pan Solo, 16-19 yrs

JR-F8: Piano Sight Reading, 13 to 15 yrs.


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