Joshua Ramjohn sang his way to the TTMA Trophy for Baritone Solo.

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Subtlety in song

By Gary Cardinez

Former Digicel Rising Star Neval Chatelal rose above the competition to become the top Tenor Solo in the 30th Biennial Music Festival as the second night of the Championships came off at Queen's Hall, St Ann's on Tuesday.

Performing the Test Piece – Stefano Donaudy's "Perduta Ho La Speranza", – Chatelal was dramatic and made the small but appreciative audience feel like life is a song worth singing. Jay McDonald of Tobago also gave a very good performance, but with a contrasting presentation.

In her remarks adjudicator Dr Carolina Gamboa-Hoyos told the singers, "You both had qualities we liked but there were issues to consider, good vocals, use of the voice in Italian, your diction and vowels. Did you understand the meaning of the text enough to convey this 19th Century song to us? So we gave [the title to] the one we felt fulfilled these criteria."

In the Baritone Solo, Joshua Ramjohn eased past a cool and calculated performance of the Test Piece – "Vaga Luna che inargenti" – by Daniel Decranie Pierre. Again this was a performance with two different styles and Ramjohn was able to reach out to his audience more than Pierre.

Adjudicator Dr Roger Henry thanked the two singers for their beautiful singing and apologised to the audience for taking so long with the results, but said, "We had to weigh the things we liked as well as the things we did not like." Speaking to the singers he said, "I want to scold you for not listening to the remarks I gave you before.

"Neither of these have reach into a Baritone voice, it will take about 15 more years before the voices come into it. Their Italian was okay but again they had to watch the double consonants and vowels so the one who won is the one who presented a more musical performance with his voice."

For the Bass Solo another cool performer in Philbert Hislop from Tobago overcame performances by Lioba Duncan and Stephan Furlonge as they all did the Test Piece – "The Cloths of Heaven". Dr Richard Tang Yuk told the gentlemen, "It is important when singing English that we feel we know it and not pay attention to vowels and consonants. You have to really do the consonants, think about the text and don't say it the Trini way, you will be better. And the one who put us in the right mood was Hislop.

Tang Yuk then invited the

audience to come closer down to become a part of the performance. In the Violin Solo, coming in from Tobago, Caryil Warner's performance of "Liebesleid" won over Kesica Brewster's "Vivaldi-Primavera". Warner won with her expressive style in a piece she understood. Dr Henry felt competitors should compete against each other, this came after there was one entrant in both the Cello/Double Bass Solo (Tracell Frederick) and Trombone Solo (Michael Rodriguez). "They make good music and if you are alone you are pacing yourself. This is not in keeping with the theme of the Festival, pace each other to success." Glorious Sounds of Tobago won the Wind and Brass Chamber Ensemble with its performance of "Palladio". The Warner Family won the Family Ensemble in what was easily the best performance of the night. They chose "Peanut Vendor" as their tune of choice and delivered it with perfection playing violin, guitar, box bass piano, and toc toc. Dr Henry was amazed, he said, "Isn't it wonderful to make music? They can make music. It is sad to have a class with one competitor, there is no competition… there was no competition. I loved that arrangement, what a difference it makes when people are musical. It was a great joy listening to that performance." "Excellente, I was told to deliver my comments in Spanish," said Dr Gamboa-Hoyas. "My English isn't so good but your Spanish is good," she continued. Gamboa-Hoyas was referring to the performances in the Parang Class. "Everytime I hear Parang I feel like standing up and dance all night long." She said it was amazing how the groups put their acts together, Azucar with their three songs in one arrangement with flute and pan in the accompaniment. "Jeunes Agape with its excellent vocal arrangements and Music Amateurs with its attention to details it was fantastic." "All three groups had great maracas players and very good balance between vocals and instruments." In the end Jeunes Agape won out for its very visual performance.

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