Naparima Girls choir edges St Joseph’s Convent at Music Festival

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Naparima Girls High School choir performs Pretty Pollie Pillicote in the under-19 choir category at the TT Music Festival at the Naparima Bowl on March 7. The young women placed first in the category. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

NAPARIMA Girls High School convincingly beat their southern rivals St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando, to win the under-19 choir category, on March 7 at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, in the south-central leg of the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival. The test piece was Pretty Polly Pillicote by Gordon Jacob.

The convent girls gave a great performance. But the Naps girls stepped it up to take top spot.

The song is said to be a very challenging piece, with many staccato notes being sung at a very fast tempo.

Teacher Reanna Edwards-Paul conducted the pupils to harmonise their different pitches of voice together, then picked out different sections in succession to punctuate the piece, repeatedly with the phrase, “He kissed her, he kissed her, he kissed her.”

The choir rose and dipped, with different volumes and pitches, created a variety of blends of various hue and intensity.

It was a very tight performance, superbly executed with skill and precision.

Adjudicator Nadine Gonzales awarded Naps Girls a whopping 96 marks out of 100.

Two pupils told Newsday how elated they were with their score.

Ariel Ramoutar said, “I can’t believe it, actually. I am so shocked.

“Our teacher, she is like the best. This is her win as well.

“I am shaking. It is amazing.”

Abrianna Sinay told Newsday, “It feels really great, honestly. I think we worked really hard for this.

“I think it was a great opportunity for us to come out and we really deserve this win after all this hard work for months.

“I really want to say thank you to my music teacher. She worked really hard, to push us to this point.”

Gonzales said Naps Girls and SJC had both done a wonderful job, as she awarded them first and second place respectively.

She judged them out of 100 marks, made up of 40 for proficiency, 40 for interpretation and 20 for balance.

Awarding 86 marks, Gonzales said SJC had generally a good tone, that could have been more rounded at times. “Generally a good blend.”

Gonzales praised Naps Girls.

The St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando choir performs Pretty Pollie Pillicote in the under-19 choir category at the TT Music Festival at the Naparima Bowl on March 7. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

“Beautiful, well-rounded, well-shaped notes. Excellent phrasing. Very good use of dynamics. Very expressive, beautiful presentation. Excellent blend and very clear diction. Ninety six!”

The Naps choir members erupted in ecstatic screams, applauding with the audience.

Earlier, St Gabriel’s Girls RC choir comfortably topped the under-13 school choir class. Also singing were Cedar Grove Private School, Oak Preparatory Private School and St Peter’s Private Primary School.

Gonzales offered comments. She said St Peter’s generally had a good tone but could have been more rounded especially in the higher notes.

“Some of your word endings could have been a bit more synchronised. Sometimes some of you ended a little before others.

“Be careful not to shout. Some singers were not sure when to enter.

“You have really good potential. Good job in coming this morning. Seventy-three marks.”

Gonzales said Cedar Grove was generally good but needed more use of dynamics. “Good control of voices. Good job. You have 81 marks.”

She said Oak school generally had a good tone but at times needed more dynamics and expression.

“Diction could have been clearer. Good shape of some phrases. Good effort. Eighty marks.”

Gonzales hailed St Gabriel’s. “Good rounded tone. Good diction. Good movement, synchronised for the most part. And impactful visually. Ninety marks.”

Gonzales asked all four primary school choirs to sing together, standing up in their places in the auditorium, to render the test piece, The Chimpanzee by Peter Jenkins.

St Peter’s music teacher Brandon Poonwassie told Newsday, “The experience was wonderful. This is my first time doing this choir here.

“I did multiple students in terms of piano and steelpan and what not. Only last year December we formed the choir, so we did not get much practice in terms of grooming the choir.

“They were very much excited for the experience.”

He said it was not so much about winning.

“It is really for the experience for the kids, to sing on a stage, to have a performance venue such as Naparima Bowl. I believe this will have a great impact in their lives and a positive one, notwithstanding the results.”