2022 Music Festival Championships begin at Queen’s Hall

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Clarice Beeput sings Si Mes Vers Avaient des Ailes in the vocal solo (upper voices) category at Queen’s Hall in Port of Spain on Tuesday. – ROGER JACOB

The TT Biennial Music Festival Championships 2022 Day One, which began on Monday, were a solemn affair compared to previous years.

Owing to covid19 restrictions, the audiences were limited to the performers, their parents/guardians, their teachers and some media.

The first day featured solo performers in the piano, string instrument, vocal, spiritual, oratorio, and contemporary religious categories.

Audience members, most there to support their children or students, came and went during the evening, with masking and physical distancing between groups.

In the string solo (19 years and under) category, Zemariah Jones-Blackman plays Sonata in E Minor: Allegro by Vivaldi. – ROGER JACOB

Some of the younger performers, who stayed to watch the others, played along on “air piano” while others performed. The pianists were allowed to practise their pieces between classes, which often took up more time than the class itself. Singers were also allowed to do a sound check to determine how much they needed to project their voices in the space.

One thing which wasn’t different from previous years was the nerves exhibited by the competitors, as for many it would have been the first time they had performed before an audience, as the preliminary rounds were held through video recordings.

Judging took place virtually, with the sessions being recorded.

Audience members were urged not only to have their cell phones on silent, but to refrain from clapping between performances. People were only allowed to enter and leave during practice sessions, but not while the competition was taking place.

Auf Flugeln Des Gesanges was the piece chosen by Andre Mangatal in the vocal solo (lower voices) category. – ROGER JACOB

In the piano solo 12 years and under, Aiden Ramsumair charmed the audience as he played his test piece In Old Vienna from Children’s Pieces by W Gillock. He was the only entrant in the category.

Zahra-Lys King, Azara Mohammed, and Vishal Ramsubhag took part in the piano solo for 15 years and under category, playing the test piece Allegro from Sonatina.

In the piano solo category for 19 and under, Mekayla Celestine and Tasmin Jade-King played the test piece Valse Carresante from Six Pieces for Solo Piano by O. Respighi. Azara Mohammed performed Ou L’On Entend un Vieille Boite a Musique by D de Severac and Le Ballet des Poussins dans leurs Coques from Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky.

Some of the performers in the string solo category for 15 and under were accompanied by tracks, while the others were accompanied by pianist Eunmi Choi. Jiada Adams performed Hungarian Dance by Nolck, and Zahra-Lys King performed Melody from Orphee et Eurydice by Gluck, and Tasmin Jade-King performed the hauntingly beautiful piece Vocalise Opus 34 No14 by Rachmaninoff.

Mekayla Celestine plays El Choclo (El Chakla) in the string solo (19 years and under) category. – ROGER JACOB

In the string solo 15 and under, Mekayla Celestine played a lively rendition of El Chocio by Angel Villoldo adapted by Maureen Clement; Tasmin Jade-King performed Allemanda 1st Movement from Partita No 2 in D Minor by Bach; and Zemariah Jones-Blackman played Sonata in E Minor: Allegro by Vivaldi.

The soloists in the vocal solos for upper voices and for lower voices gave strong, passionate performances. Clarice Beeput was the only performer in the first category, singing Si Mes Vers Avaient des Ailes, by Reynaldo Hahn. Jake Salloum and Andre Mangatal performed in the second category, singing Auf Flugeln Des Gesanges by Felix Mendelssohn and Perduta Ho La Speranza by Stefano Donaudy respectively.

Several other categories performed on Day One. They were boys’ vocal solo for seven-ten years, where Keshawn Adiram and Josiah Thompson sang Lions by WH Belyea and AC Darke; boys’ vocal solo for 11-12 years, where Teray Wilmot from Tobago and Aidan Mathura performed We Can Make a Difference by Clifford Crawley; and boys’ vocal solo for 13-15 years, where Liam Gooding, Josiah Ferrier, Medsach Nathaniel, and Che-Nathaniel Knights sang Career Paths by Ben Parry and Garth Bardsley.

The girls’ vocal solo categories had some of the largest numbers of entries on Monday. For ages seven-ten, Layla Alexander, Ziara Ali, Saphira Thomas, Khalea Alfred (Tobago), Christyana Singh, and Isabelle Sheppard (Tobago) sang Song for a Baby Sister by WH Anderson and RH Grenville.

Taylor Lee was the only competitor in the 11-12 years category, singing Pancakes arranged by Desmond McMahon. In the 13-15 year category Kalyssa Sooklal, Kernique Horsford (Tobago), Christina Gooding, Eden Mohammed (Tobago), Evangeline Deonat, Klavier Simpson (Tobago), Keanne Job (Tobago), and Clarice Beeput performed Close Thine Eyes by Mary Plumstead and King Charles I.

In the oratorio solo for upper voices, Victoria Griffith sang I Know that My Redeemer Liveth by Handel, Clarice Beeput performed Aus Liebe Will Mein Heiland Sterben by Bach, and Jaydelle Baird sang Liber Scriptus by Verdi.

In the contemporary religious solo category for upper voices, Zoe Webster and Ann Lawrence sang Upon This Rock by Gloria Gaither and Dony McGuire; Sydney Mohan sang Bethlehem Morning by Morris Chapman; Clarice Beeput sang The Lord’s Prayer by Albert Malotte; and Patrice Richardson sang Someday by Arielle Pierre.

The spiritual solo category for upper voices featured Jaydelle Baird singing Ride On King Jesus and Clarice Beeput singing Witness – Unknown, both arranged by Hall Johnson. The final category was the spiritual solo category for lower voices, with Jeromy Thomas performing Ride On King Jesus, arranged by Hall Johnson; Jebarry Narine singing Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child, arranged by Burleigh; Tyler Joseph singing I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired, arranged by Burleigh; and John Loney performing Roll, Jordan, Roll by Charles Wesley.