Tobago students win junior, senior folk choirs at Music Festival

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Scarborough Methodist (Tobago) won the Blanche Fraser Cup with their performance of Buddy Lindo in the Junior Primary School Folk Song choir category during the TT Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain on Wednesday. – AYANNA KINSALE

TOBAGO were the best primary and secondary school folk choirs on Wednesday at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s at the 2024 TT Music Festival championships.

Scarborough Methodist Primary and Bishop’s High School (Tobago) fended off strong competition to repeat Tobago’s win of the junior calypso choir class on Tuesday.

Jumbies, the neighbourhood thief and the village gossip were brought to life in song and skit.

The four primary school and four secondary school folk choirs on Wednesday were all simply off the chart! What a day!

Taking the Desmond Waite Trophy, Bishop’s High (Tobago) edged Signal Hill Secondary School, St Joseph’s Convent (SJC, Port of Spain) and Naparima Girls’ High School.

Scarborough Methodist (Tobago) won the Blanche Fraser Cup, edging Hope Anglican Primary School (Tobago), Roxborough Anglican Primary School (Tobago), and Anstey Memorial Girls’ Anglican School (San Fernando.)

Anstey Memorial opened the primary school folk contest, singing Jumbie In The Road. The girls had a great sense of togetherness, singing with clarity and great passion with lively body movements in a wonderful piece of storytelling. They ended with a scary climax, “Have you ever seen a jumbie? RAAA!!!” The audience applauded wildly.

The boys and girls of Roxborough offered a lot of variety in its performance of Billy Gone A Jail.

“Lock up in a country jail. No place to run, no place to run!”

The lead singer was sweetly backed by her choir, “Ah true, ah true, ah true, ah true!”

Bishop’s High School choir won the Desmond Waite Trophy in the Junior Folk Song choirs category at the TT Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain on Wednesday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Hope’s girls and boys began with a blast of a conch shell to sing Wake Up Johnny. The girls wore wonderful outfits of headscarf, white blouse and green dress, with boys in patterned green shirts.

Rocking as if pulling in a fishing line, pupils sought to prod Johnny to action, “Is a whole lot of fish we going to catch!”

Scarborough Methodist, a late addition, brought down the house with a well-sectioned presentation about a wayward boy, Buddy Lindo.

“He wicked!” sang the left half of the choir, rocking forward, only to be echoed by the right half, “He wicked”.

The girls then chided, in blended voices, “Right now, I’m sure he in some mischief!”

Adjudicator Nubia Williams hailed Anstey Memorial. “Beautiful combination of voices. Interesting interpretation. Quite convincing. A performance that showcased meaning and enjoyment by the girls.”

She praised their antiphony (call and response), saying, “Singing in rounds added an element of complexity and flavour. Very strong ending.”

She hailed Roxborough’s “strong entrance and nice bounce” amid “an interesting change of style” to express concern for Billy. She liked the song’s infusion with a Tobago jig by two pupils.

Williams said Hope had a good blend of voices, not always well-pitched, plus a great ending.

She said Scarborough Methodist had “an interesting arrangement”, with a clear sound throughout and well-blended parts.

“This was a very disciplined choir. They captured the folk elements and had a well-balanced blend.”

In the secondary class, Bishop’s High (Tobago) won with Hold Em Joe and Day-O, directed by pupil Klavier Simpson. It began with a great opening by a male singing solo, followed by nice sectioning between male and female voices. Signal Hill was on next, swaying and singing hauntingly to warn of the ghosts of Catch Bay, followed by Come Leh We Go.

Roxborough AC Primary School’s choir performs Billy Gone a Jail in the Junior Primary School Folk Song choir category at the TT Music Festival at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain on Wednesday. – AYANNA KINSALE

St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, were elegant young ladies swaying in their floral dresses to sing a very comfortable Evening Time, followed by A Johnny Folk Medley.

Naps Girls with gusto sang Siyahama, a Zulu marching song, plus Queen Anne-O, to chide the village gossip.

Adjudicator Dr Richard Tang Yuk praised Bishop’s High as “very theatrical”, Signal Hill’s perfect octaves, SJC’s “most mature sound”, and Naps Girls as “the most beautifully blended.”

Clutching the trophy, sixth-former Simpson told Newsday, “I am still shaking – from the experience, from the win, from the trial from the hard work.”

She thanked the teachers who had let her arrange the choir while they did the theatrics and costumes.

“I am overjoyed that they allowed me. And to give back.”