SINGER Kory Mendez said music is his refuge and his escape from reality. Mendez won several prizes at the TT Music Festival 2020 before it postponed due to the covid19 pandemic.
He placed first in the oratorio, operatic aria and gents solo classes, second in the recital and negro spiritual classes, and third in the contemporary religious solo class at the Music Festival.
He said he likes to perform classical music best, especially negro spirituals and operatic arias. He said while he likes most music, including soca, R&B, pop and jazz, he prefers listening to classical music.
As far back as he can remember, Mendez has always been singing.
“It started in Maraval RC Primary School where every morning we had an assembly and would sing religious songs before we began our schoolwork. I would go home and learn these songs, practise them only to return the next morning ‘showing off’ that I came prepared as all my words were learnt.”
Mendez said he began to appreciate classical music when he was at the College of Science Technology and the Applied Arts of TT (COSTAATT), completing his BSc in psychology. While attending classes at Bishop Anstey High School, Port of Spain, he would hear the Lydians Singers rehearse while waiting on his parents.
“The robust choral sound filled with excellent tone, blend and exceptional sensitivity motivated me to join in 2015 as I view singing as healing for the soul. I was assisted in the development of my voice and performance skills to where I am today by the Lydians through its many senior soloists such as Dr Edward Cumberbatch, Joanne Pyle, Glenis Yearwood, Garnet Allen, David Williams, Janine Charles-Farray, as well as accompanists Lindy-Ann Boden-Ritch and Myrtle Cumberbatch, and conductors such as current musical lead Carl-Anthony Hines, Patrick Bertrand and Jesus Acosta Ruiz, just to name a few.”
Currently, Mendez is pursuing an Artistic Diploma in Music at the University of TT (UTT) to further his passion for music. He said it was there that he met his current voice teacher Dr Leah Brown, mezzo-soprano.
“I am forever grateful to her for continuing the vocal training required. Brown is a master of diction, interpretation and phrasing, and she continues to push me to become the best version of myself. Music helps me find myself, it helps me express myself and it’s my way of escaping reality.”
As with most artistes in TT, Mendez also has a day job, in his case working at Colfire Insurance company. He said his co-workers are very supportive of his craft.
“They are very accommodating when it comes to my performances, even coming to support when they can. In fact, one of my co-workers made the ‘flower prop’ I used for my performance of La Fleur Que Tu M’avais Jetée for the Operatic Aria category in this year’s Music Festival.”
During the pandemic, Mendez said he is preparing for his final year recital at UTT which is to be on a date to be confirmed. He said his plans following graduation include a public recital and further development as a professional singer in TT. He has no immediate plans to study abroad, but said it is definitely not off the cards.