Music Festival judge coaches girl soloists

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Nadine Gonzales, adjudicator for the morning half of the TT Music Festival, shows the students of the Vocal Solo 13 to 15 Years Final some techniques to enhance their vocal range based on similar challenges they each faced in their performances with test piece, The Mouse in the Wainscot by Ian Serraillier and F W Wadely at Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s on February 29. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

Nadine Gonzales took time out from her role as adjudicator at the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival on February 29 at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, to coach young singers on how to improve their projection through better poise.

She was delivering remarks on the vocal solo 13-15 years category.

The class was won jointly by Cheyenne Pollard and Veronica Sealey, with Aria-Leigh Martin second, singing the test-piece The Mouse in the Wainscot.

Earlier, the vocal solo seven-ten years was won by Allana Williams, with Kristen Castagne second, and Faith Joseph and Ariah St Hilaire joint third, singing The Cupboard.

Gonzales invited the five entrants in the 13-15 class onstage to discuss technique, while the audience looked on appreciatively.

She asked Sealey to sing the piece, to piano accompaniment, but initially unaided by her.

Gonzales then braced Sealey, supporting her back and front, and asked her to sing again. With a very much improved projection, Sealey hit an impressive soprano note, earning audible gasps of delight from the audience.

Nadine Gonzales assisting student Veronica Sealey with her vocal technique at the TT Music Festival held at Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s on February 29. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

Gonzales also sang notes herself to make her point about good projection.

She then asked Pollard to sing unassisted at first, and then again with her hands pressed against her cheeks to create a better sound.

Gonzales asked Pollard to follow her in putting one hand atop her head and pressing one onto her belly, to hit the high notes.

She then lined up the four girls present to do this exercise, all singing together, as she conducted, to piano accompaniment. She then announced the results.

Two retired teachers from St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph, later told Newsday how much they appreciated Gonzales’ coaching the girls.

“What I would say is that the audience got a beautiful lesson in singing, as demonstrated by the adjudicator,” said one woman, opting not to give her name. “So that was a beautiful moment for everybody in the audience.

“It is a long time since I have observed that magnanimous spirit. She came out not only to teach the girls, but to teach the audience.”

A second woman, also a retired teacher from SJC, St Joseph, also appreciated this lesson, while hoping more boys would participate in music.

Earlier, Gonzales praised the seven-ten-year-old girl soloists as “eight lovely voices.” She said they had all won by participating, as part of their musical experience and journey.

She praised La Shawna Joseph for a good expression, clear tone and good dynamics. Gonzales said Nora Reid had “a beautiful voice”, with a good shaping of phrases. Amaya de Leon had a lovely voice and really good projection.

Nadine Gonzales shows the students of the Vocal Solo 13 to 15 Years Final some techniques to enhance their vocal range at the TT Music Festival held at Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s on February 29. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

Aradhya Navutu had a lovely presentation, voice and dress. Faith Joseph had had an effective use of dynamics in the ranges of mezzo piano (medium soft), piano (soft) and mezzo forte (medium strong).

Ariah St Hilaire has a very good visual presentation. Gonzales praised Castagne for “a really beautiful upper register.”

Gonzales hailed the first-placed Williams, saying, “Beautiful voice, good vocal expression, good diction, good shape of your phrases, good intonation.”