St Francis Girls’ wins best calypso choir at Music Festival

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

St Joseph’s Convent choir placed second in the Junior Calypso Chorale 19 Years and Under final with the song Black Woman by Ella Andall at the TT Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s on February 27. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

BELMONT St Francis Girls’ RC School on Tuesday continued their winning streak by being the best under-19 calypso choir in the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.

It was a very close-fought contest, with phenomenal performances from St Joseph’s Convent (Port of Spain) placing second and Bishop Anstey High School coming third.

Trinity College Junior Choir was a very clear crowd favourite, winning sustained applause as they came offstage for the verve of its very young pupils in voice and gesture.

St Francis on Monday won best under-15 choir, while its pupils Ebony Cudjoe and Cherron Lynch won the 12 and under girls’ vocal duet.

On Tuesday, St Francis found favour with Denyse Plummer’s Right Here, which music teacher Mariam Jones-Sprott told Newsday beforehand was a continuation of its message of positivity.

The singers dressed simply but effectively in red jerseys, black jeans and white shoes to portray the national colours.

Their uplifting words were accompanied by expansive hand gestures as they stepped smartly from side to side back and forth, oozing a calm confidence.

Their rendition included a couple of lines reminiscent of the Wimoweh/The Lion Sleeps Tonight, featured in the Lion King movie.

The 45 singers of the St Joseph’s Convent calypso choir trained by John Thomas were very impactful and indeed world-class.

They offered many layers of harmonics and intricacies, including a soprano element to render Richard “Nappy” Mayers’ Bring Back the Old Time Days.

The Bishops choir was positively pulsating – in voice and dance – 30 girls fused into a single organism – to give an impassioned rendition of Ella Andall’s appeal to women to save the day in her anthemic Black Woman.

The crowd just lapped up the Trinity youngsters as they held their heads in poetic frustration to portray tired banana workers wishing to go home in the song taken global by Harry Belafonte, the Banana Boat Song.

The rallying cry, “Day-O!” was followed by “Gosh!” to display frustration. Their singing was accompanied by lively dramatics, plus rhythmic drumming. The crowd roared its approval.

Adjudicator Nubia Williams said the performance had been “magical and musical.”

The Belmont St Francis Girls’ RC School placed first in the Junior Calypso Chorale 19 years and Under final with the song Right Here by Denyse Plummer at the TT Music Festival at Queen’s Hall on February 27. – Photo by Faith Ayoung

She said Trinity had offered very good expression and interpretation.

But she advised them to be careful with their pitch and stay in tune, saying the latter could be helped by the youngsters rehearsing alongside an accompanying musical instrument. They earned 75 out of 100 points.

St Joseph’s Convent was adjudged to have a very good harmony and balance, with flavour added from their accompaniment. Williams said they had “an interesting transition in tempo.” They earned 85 points.

Williams said Bishops had nice crescendos, very good diction and pronunciation, and a clean style.

“Mood and meaning were clearly evident,” she added, awarding 86 points.

Williams said the St Francis girls had “beautiful voices and effective harmonics.” The choir had a good interpretation and modulation.

It was “a well-rehearsed and measured piece.” She awarded St Francis 88 marks.

Newsday approached Jones-Sprott, who was in tears of joy at her girls’ win. Her pupils hugged her and she told them how much she loved them all.

Bishops’ music teacher Adafih Padmore told Newsday she was very proud of her girls’ performance.

Trinity music teacher Nicole Hills-Pierre told Newsday, “I found their performance was excellent. I enjoyed it. I think they did well.”