Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 31st 2014 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 31, 2014
It might not have been on the official programme
of Emancipation Day activities, but the youthful
T&T Steel and Brass Symphonic Orchestra s (TTS-
BSO) musical tribute to five international, national
and community icons on July 27 provided a perfect
launch pad for reflection on emancipation obser-
Staged at Daaga Hall on the UWI campus in St
Augustine, A Musical Tribute was arguably the best
public production of this group of young steel and
brass musicians of recent years, under the supervision
of the husband-and-wife team of Leslie and Judith
Clement who founded TTSBSO in 2008.
Honoured at the event were the late South African
president, Nelson Mandela and T&T prime minister
and president, ANR Robinson. Former school prin-
cipals Jennifer Cox-Williams of Bon Air Secondary
and Kathleen Kalloo of Five Rivers Secondary were
also on the list of honorees together with Dale Maharaj,
also of Five Rivers Secondary School.
Not unlike the performances of previous years, the
"junior band," comprising graduates of the orchestra s
annual holiday music camp, amazed a packed hall
with inspired interpretations of Bacharach favourites
such as Say a Little Prayer and Close to You and a
highly entertaining rendition of Michael Jackson s
Thriller, complete with a be-gloved "moonwalker."
Hopefully, videographers engaged to record the
concert got the senior band s entire memorable ren-
dition of Jorge Ben Jor s Mas Que Nada---a guaranteed
earworm conducted by Stephen Villafana.
Young trumpeter Randell Adams tried his best
during his solo on Bacharach s Say a Little Prayer
and perhaps, only then, realised the delicate treatment
required to faithfully carry one of the American com-
poser s more challenging melodies. Adams is someone
to keep an eye on for the future.
Yet again, TTSBSO scored high marks for song
selection. Robert W Smith s Africa Ceremony, Song
and Ritual was rendered with a high level of skill and
sensitivity by the senior band and featured the orches-
tra s recently established dance troupe---who all had
to down their instruments for the performance.
There was even a vocal performance, by the young-
sters of the junior band, of The Lion Sleeps Tonight
arranged by prolific choir master John Baptiste.
The TTSBSO has emerged as a significant con-
tributor to music education in the country with hun-
dreds of young musicians from east Trinidad com-
munities benefiting from first class instruction offered
by the Clements and Villafana and, this year, young
musicians from the senior band who also served as
tutors at the music camp.
Judith Clement and Martina Chow also offered
their services as "life skills" coaches while Kelvin
Pierre and Mahalia Mayers operated as camp man-
A high number of the orchestra seniors are currently
in music degree programmes at UWI and elsewhere
and several have gone on to higher educational oppor-
tunities at universities abroad.
The lack of cohesive corporate support for the
orchestra, whose members come from what Leslie
Clement has described as "financially challenged"
areas of the country, was noted by the master of cer-
emonies more than once.
In fact, there is even a challenge with accessing
sufficient instruments for players and a call was made
for people with wind instruments stored, unused
anywhere to be donated to the orchestra.
More than one member of the audience retorted
that the relative poverty of TTSBSO was inexplicable
in the midst of an economic boom and evidence of
considerable official, financial waste.
Among this year s major benefactors were the Min-
The youthful T&T Steel and
Brass Symphonic Orchestra.
istry of Arts and Multiculturalism, Simon s Music
Supplies, National Flour Mills and more than a dozen
credit unions. "Not a single bank," the MC said.
A Musical Tribute was certainly worth more than
the $100 admission. Much, much more. It was a
magical musical tribute to undoubted heroes.
The TTSBSO chairman is Kelvin Pierre and he
can be contacted at 704-2616.
Magical tribute from
youth music group
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