Colour, movement, passion on show on Day 2 of Music Festival

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

John Loney sings Day Oh in the Musical Theatre category. – Angelo Marcelle

The categories in Day Two of the TT Biennial Music Festival 2022 at Queen’s Hall on Wednesday gave contestants the chance to express their creativity through drama, costume, and movement.

In the Musical Theatre Solo for Boys or Girls 16-19 years, Clarice Beeput gave a heartfelt performance of Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Daniel Garavito embodied the character in For Forever by Ben Platt; Afycha Samuel clearly articulated the pathos in Lin-Mauel Miranda’s Burn; and Zoe Webster’s voice as she sang Defying Gravity had listeners soaring.

The late Lutalo “Brother Resistance” Masimba was the artiste of choice by entrants in the Rapso Solo category for boys or girls 19 years and under. Both Xavi-Lee Rose and Jennelle Ross performed Cyar Take Dat with passion and a commitment to the lyrics.

Albert Smith sings You’ll Be Back in the Musical Theatre Solo category. – Angelo Marcelle

While Rose was accompanied by a track, Ross took it a step further, clapping and stomping her feet to create her rhythm. During his performance of Nation Time, Liam Gooding waved a flag while dancing across the stage and engaged with the audience, calling on them to wave their hands and sing along.

Ross was the only competitor in the Calypso Solo category for boys or girls 19 years and under, giving a masterful performance of Lord Kitchener’s Miss Tourist, dressed in Kitch’s trademark hat and blazer.

The lone contestant in the piano solo category was Rowan King who played Prelude in C-Sharp Minor by Rachmaninoff.

In the Musical Theatre Solo category for upper voices, Patrice Richardson sings I’m Here. – Angelo Marcelle

In the Musical Theatre Solo category for upper voices, Patrice Richardson, dressed in a dramatic silver and pink gown, gave a poignant rendition of I’m Here by Willis, Russell and Bray; Beeput gave a lush performance of Think of Me by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Gianna Griffith gave a plaintive performance of Claude-Michel Schonberg’s On My Own; and Kristina James’ crown and tiara added to her beautifully articulated performance of On The Steps of the Palace by Stephen Sondheim.

The lower voices performers in the Musical Theatre Solo category all gave strong theatrical performances. The contestants were Daniel Garavito, performing Michael in the Bathroom, who embodied the character of a young man hiding from his ex-boyfriend in the bathroom of a party; Albert Smith singing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s You’ll Be Back, who used costuming and movement to portray a slightly sadistic and vindictive monarch; and Jake Salloum dressed in blazer and flat cap giving a plaintive performance of Lonely House by Kurt Weill.

Rondell Gulston sings Jamaican Farewell in the Folk Song Solo-lower voices category. – Angelo Marcelle

The Folk Songs Solo category for upper voices had Kristina James giving a dramatic performance of a disgruntled market vendor trying to sell her ackees at Linstead Market, while Zoe Webster gave a powerful rendition of Murder in the Market.

The lower voices performers ended the evening on a high note. Rondell Gulston’s performance of Jamaica Farewell by Irwin Bugie were enhanced by his deep bass voice and the emotion he brought to the song. John Loney’s rendition of Day Oh made the audience sit up with the first note, and his use of props and accompaniment by piano and djembe drums gave added elements to his performance.

Other categories which took place on Tuesday were the Contemporary Religious Solo for boys or girls 13-15 years, with Gianna Griffith performing Goodness of God by Bethel Music and Jenn Johnson, and Liam Gooding singing You Raise Me Up by Rolf Lovland and Brendan Graham; the Contemporary Religious Solo category, featuring contestants Emiel Joseph and Klavier Simpson, both from Tobago; the Folk Song solo for 19 years and under, with Ihouma Straughn-George singing Zeela, arranged by Annette Alfred, Klavier Simpson (Tobago) performing Belinda’s Plight, and Koquice Davidson singing the Tobago folk tune Clara Thief; and the Musical Theatre Solo for 13-15 years, with Josiah Ferrer singing This is the Moment by Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn, Che-Nathaniel Knights singing Stars by Claude-Michel Schonberg, and Gianna Griffith performing Someone Like You by Frank Wildhorn.

Rowan King in the piano solo category plays Prelude in C-Sharp Minor by Rachmaninoff. – Angelo Marcelle

The performers were accompanied by music tracks or piano in most instances. The performances were being recorded for judging and later airing, so the audience was not allowed to applaud and were reminded to have their cell phones off or on silent. The lack of applause and audience response seemed to confuse or dishearten some of the younger performers.

The festival continues on Thursday and Friday and the performances will be broadcast on YouTube on May 5-6.