Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 7th 2014 Contents The Lydians are capping off their
35th anniversary with an ambitious
Christmas concert that will expose
listeners to musical styles from
around the world.
The concert, A Magic Christmas
Voyage, will challenge the 60--mem-
ber choir to sing in five languages,
including Yoruba, Spanish, French,
German and Portuguese.
The choir used a Portuguese lan-
guage expert to help the singers get
the phrasing right on a Brazilian
carol, and a Lydians musician who
was also a French teacher helped
with the song in that language.
Poet/singer Muhammad Muwakil
will do an Arabic chant at the start
of the concert and a song of Chinese
and one of First People origin will
be sung in English.
"When I looked at the repertoire
of Christmas carols that we have
done, it seemed that we had stuff
in different languages or we chose
things from different countries," said
Gillian Bishop, one of the choir s
creative guides, explaining how this
year s songs and theme were cho-
With this concert, the Lydians
were "widening" what they usually
do, to give the choir and audience
an international experience, she said.
"When you get into a song and
you begin to talk about where it
comes from, who wrote it and what
happened at that time, you develop
a knowledge and an understanding
of how another culture works," Bish-
The audience as well as the mem-
bers of the choir will learn some-
thing, as the song origins will be
explained in the concert s booklet,
which, Bishop explained, usually
becomes a collector s item.
The highlight of this year s concert
will be the performance of the Missa
Salsera, an epic, multi-part compo-
sition from Anthony Francis Rosado,
a priest based in Brooklyn who s a
talented composer and singer, among
"[Rosado] sings beautifully, plays
a mean salsa piano and he dances,
dances in church," said Bishop.
Rosado is an intriguing figure.
Of Italian and Puerto Rican her-
itage, he has a bachelor s and a mas-
ter s degree in music from the Man-
hattan School of Music.
In both his compositions and his
ministry, he embraces Latin Amer-
"Reaching out to the Hispanic
community is important to me," he
said in an interview shortly before
he was ordained in June.
Earlier this year, he offered salsa
lessons every Friday at his church,
Rosado---whip thin and bespec-
tacled---can be seen energetically
leading a class in a video on
On his Web site, anthonyfrancis-
rosado.com, Rosado calls the Missa
Salsera "one of the most innovative
and dramatic musical settings of the
Latin Mass...a true fusion of classical
music and salsa." "The Missa is writ-
ten to transform entire sections of
the Mass into scenes which embody
the dramatic richness of the Roman
Catholic liturgy," says the site.
Recordings of the Missa---available
on the site---demonstrate a scintil-
lating collision of classical with con-
The 30-year-old Rosado studied
at the Manhattan School of Music
with Lydian soloist Michael
Zephyrine and so formed a link to
the choir that led to the Lydians
performance of the Missa Salsera.
Zephyrine directed the first per-
formance of the piece in June this
year at St Paul the Apostle Church
in New York City.
"Four movements of the Missa
Salsera mass completed! Some seri-
ous foot tapping and shoulder shim-
mying going on here in The Lydians!
Gracias por la musica, Fr Rosado!!"
Zephyrine said in a post on Rosado s
Rosado will join the Lydians on
stage, singing and playing the piano
during the Missa Salsera.
Legendary pannist Len "Boogsie"
Sharpe will also be performing on
Pan will feature prominently in
the Lydian performance, as it has
since Lydian Steel was created in
This year the Lydian pannists,
besides providing accompaniment
along with other instruments, will
by arranger/pannist Natasha Joseph.
This is new territory for Lydian
The group, whose members are
trained to read music, usually per-
The six pannists will also do an
arrangement of Ribbons by Trinida-
dian Marilyn Williams.
"We re trying to do a different
side of the steel," said Lydian Steel
captain Tonya King.
"We are sort of evolving." This
will be the fourth Christmas concert
without the Lydians iconic director
Pat Bishop, who died in August 2011.
"In everything we do it s trying
to make sure that she s proud," said
"We still keep her in our thoughts
all the time." Gillian Bishop said she
has not replaced her late sister Pat.
"I m a stopper of gaps," she said,
explaining her role.
"I know more than anybody else
how big her shoes were.
So I wouldn t be so presumptuous
to attempt to fill them.
"I think that has to be a kind of
group effort," she added, "and still
we will fall far short." "Although she
has gone physically, she s still there,"
Lydians manager/musical director
Patrick Bertrand said of Pat Bishop s
"The spirit that she carried the
choir along with, that spirit is still
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt December 7, 2014
2013 Christmas show. PHOTO
COURTESY: THE LYDIANS
Left: Anthony Francis Rosado,
composer of Missa Salsera, which
the Lydians will perform at A Magic
Christmas Voyage. PHOTO COURTESY:
multiple cultures in Christmas show
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