Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 19th 2015 Contents B10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Raguel Gabriel, a 30-year-old cus-
tomer service representative with the
Water Taxi Service, had a long-held
dream of being a professional singer.
But like many of us he stifled that
dream and stuck to what he thought
was a more practical way to earn a liv-
Then two things happened that
reminded Gabriel of the importance of
living one's life to the fullest and pursuing
ambitions even if one eventually failed.
His father died and, partly to help
him recover from the loss, he took a trip
to Florida to see his favourite singer,
Sarah Brightman, in concert.
"At a certain point, she just had the
spotlight on her," he recalled. "And that
was the most moving part of it. I said
I wanted to do that."
When he met the singer backstage,
she gave him further encouragement.
"She told me, Don't stop, find your
passion,'" he said.
Gabriel enrolled in a college music
programme. Then in a moment of
serendipity in 2011, he fell into conver-
sation with a costumer who turned out
to be the musical director of a local
adaptation of West Side Story. Gabriel
told Victor Prescod about his ambitions
and Prescod encouraged Gabriel to audi-
tion for the musical.
Gabriel became the understudy for
the lead role of Tony, but he actually
performed in eight of the 12 showings
of the musical. He believes he was given
the opportunity because of the hard
work and commitment to the role he
showed in rehearsal.
Since then, Gabriel has performed in
five presentations from the Classical
Music Development Foundation of
T&T---L'Enfant et les Sortileges, The
Impresario, The Magic Flute, Dido and
Aeneas, and Die Fledermaus---and two
from The Marionettes Chorale--- Carmen
and Les Miserables. He's come in for
praise from hardnosed art critic Anne
Hilton. "He has a strong, pleasing tenor,"
she wrote in a review of The Magic
Gabriel has studied with acting coach
Penelope Spencer and voice trainer June
Nathaniel and at The London Academy
of Music and Dramatic Art.
All this happened within four years.
Now Gabriel is about to embark on
a new leg of his amazing journey. He's
been accepted to study at the prestigious
Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New
York City, which has among its alumni
Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro.
Gabriel will be doing the school's three-
year conservatory, and classes are due
to start in two weeks.
Gabriel has organised a concert to
help raise funds for the tuition. He's
called it Prologue, he said, because it
will also be an opportunity to introduce
himself and his talent to members of
the public who may not have heard of
Gabriel has invited to perform with
him other singers with whom he's
worked. These include Marvin Smith,
Candice Alcantara, Aurora Tardieu, Nigel
Floyd and Shannon Navarro. Jerome
Dinchong, Tessa Wallace and Elijah
Brown will accompany on piano, viola
and violin respectively.
Prologue will give its audience what
Gabriel calls "an eclectic mix" of music:
Broadway, opera and adult contempo-
The concert will showcase, he said,
"a lot of music that I love very much."
He describes this music as "very expres-
sive, very emotional, very passionate."
"What connects them is the dramatic
quality of them. And the words in
them---there's a kind of concept or a
story being told," he said.
Now that he's gotten so far, there is
no limit to Gabriel's ambition. He hopes
the experience at Stella would lead to
opportunities on Broadway.
"I learned that you can't give up on
what you want to do," he said. "This
dream has been mine since I was 15
years old, and now 15 years later, it now
starts to happen."
Prologue will take place at St
Dominic's Pastoral Centre's auditorium,
Diego Martin, on Friday August 21 at 8
pm. For more info call 765-9456.
As CAL Invaders Steel Orches-
tra celebrates its Diamond Jubilee
this year, its managing director
Michael Dinchong says the only
gift it desires is title to the prop-
erty it has occupied on Tragarete
Road, Woodbrook since 1940.
"We the members of Invaders
desire one gift, just one gift. And
that is title to this property," he
said at the media launch of the
75th anniversary Week of Cele-
brations, to be held in September.
The launch took place at Invaders
pan theatre last week Tuesday
He added: "Designated a
National Heritage Site in 2007, we
are yet to receive the lease for this
property. The matter is tied up
legally. Although it is not the fault
of the Government, we believe
that the intervention of the Gov-
ernment could act as a catalyst to
accelerate the process."
Dinchong was addressing an
audience that included Minister
of National Security Carl Alfonso
and Minister of Tourism Gerald
Hadeed as well as sponsor rep-
resentatives and members of the
The launch officially introduced
a week of activities to begin on
Friday, September 18 and end on
Thursday, September 24 (Republic
A steering committee compris-
ing Elizabeth Namsoo, Kenny De
Silva, Sayeed Emamali and David
Hackett is organising the events,
which will highlight the role of
the steel pan movement in youth
and community development. The
events also aim to chronicle the
history and contributions made
by Invaders, and to showcase
The activities include the launch
of Invaders' History Book and
Exhibition from Friday 18 to
Wednesday, September 23, a gala
awards ceremony on Sunday 20,
and A Traditional J'Ouvert Jump-
Up in Woodbrook on Republic
So, why celebrate? Said Din-
chong: "We are celebrating the
life and vitality of an institution.
If one were to represent the
progress of Invaders graphically
over the last 75 years, one would
expect to see periods of peak inter-
spersed with low periods...the
highest peak would have been in
those early decades of the 40s and
50s. In my vision, our next highest
peak will be in this decade."Din-
chong said that, except for national
pan competitions, "we are self-
reliant, in that we do not need
financial support from our title
sponsors for our upkeep and daily
operations. Our main source of
income is derived from regular
performances and event promo-
tions. Like our fathers, we are not
followers. We are leaders, inno-
vators and creative thinkers. We
are the future."
Sponsors of the Invaders Dia-
mond Jubilee Week of Celebrations
are Caribbean Airlines, Ministry
of Tourism, Tropical Tent Rental,
Shell (Trinidad) Ltd, Petrotrin, Fair
Chance Racing Service, National
Flour Mills, Jimmy Aboud and
75 years old, Invaders
dreams of secure home
Raguel lives his dream
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