Music festival ends with tribute to Desmond Waithe

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tasmin-Jade King performs during the Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on April 29. – ROGER JACOB

The TT Biennial Music Festival Championships ended on Friday with a tribute to musician and composer Desmond Waithe, who passed away on April 20. The tribute came at the end of day four, which featured mainly steelpan and vocal categories.

Festival board vice-chair Wendy Jeremie said Waithe had an enduring connection to the festival. She said he was supposed to have been an adjudicator for the 2022 festival, but was unable to.

“Desmond contributed to the Music Festival for many years, whether he trained, arranged, accompanied, or scored the music. He gave music all the love he could give every day of his life for as long as he lived. His legacy will live on through those whose lives he touched and we thank him for sharing his life with us. To music for Desmond Waithe!”

Jeremie gave the tribute before the final performance of the evening, Waithe’s great niece Ilori playing Tempest by Kareem Brown on steelpan.

The first session of the festival featured steelpan performances in different categories. In the solo steelpan category for tenor or double tenor/seconds for 12 years and under, Jalon Simmons, Aiden Ramsumair, Gabriella Alexis, and Jayzia Roach played the test piece Castilian by G Gomez adapted by Heather Headley edited by S Sharma.

The piece Allegra in F by G F Handel was the musical piece of choice in the steel pan solo for tenor or double tenor/seconds for 15 years and under, as it was played by Tyree Hazzard, Jeremiah Noel, Chelsea Hanumanta, Jaeda Ar-Razi, Jordan Daniel Allegra, and Rebecca Wallace. Contestants Sydney Nichols and Christian Fermin played Fun At Home by Aram Khatchaturian.

In the 19 years and under category of the steel pan solo for tenor or double tenor/seconds, Kamaria Charles Richards played Dance Mathilda Dance by Anthony Williams, while Jafari Daniel and Ilori Waithe both played Toccata by Satanand Sharma.

In the Composition for Steel solo category, Chaela Lewis played Resurface, while in the Composition for Steel Ensemble category, Jamaal Pierre-Roberts along with an ensemble played Fugue No 1.

Chavez Benjamin on alto saxophone was the only performer on Friday in the Orchestral Instrument Solo category. His performance of Aria Saxofon Alto mi B by Eugene Bozza was romantic and whimsical.

There were two entrants in the Acoustic Guitar solo category. Rowan King gave a contemplative, melancholic performance of Prelude No 5 in D Major by Heitor Villa-Lobos, while Wendell Moreau’s performance of Seis Por Derecho by Antonio Lauro was a light, lilting rhythm with hidden undertones.

In the operatic area for upper voices category, Clarice Beeput gave a lilting whimsical performance of Sul Fil d’un Soffio Etesio by Guiseppi Verdi. Victoria Griffith gave an emotional, powerful performance of Un Belle Di Vedremo by Glaucomo Puccini.

Andre Mangatal and Jake Salloum were the two entrants in the operatic area for lower voices category. Mangatal gave a poignant performance of Una Furtiva Lagrima by Gaetano Donizetti, while Salloum’s performance of Je Trois Entendre Encore by Georges Bizet was romantic.

The results of the festival will be released on May 5 and 6.