The music festival ends with a tribute to Desmond Waithe

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

The biennial TT Music Festival Championships ended on Friday with a tribute to musician and songwriter Desmond Waithe, who died on April 20. The tribute came at the end of day four, which featured mostly steelpan and vocal categories.

Festival board vice-chair Wendy Jeremie said Waithe has a lasting connection to the festival. She said he was supposed to have been a judge for the 2022 festival, but couldn’t.

“Desmond has contributed to the Music Festival for many years, forming, arranging, accompanying or composing 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. In music for Desmond Waithe!

Jérémie paid tribute before the final performance of the evening, with Waithe’s great-niece, Ilori, playing Kareem Brown’s Tempest on steelpan.

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

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

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

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

Chavez Benjamin on alto saxophone was the only performer on Friday in the Orchestral Instrument Solo category. Her rendition of Eugene Bozza’s Aria Saxofon Alto mi B was romantic and whimsical.

There were two entries in the acoustic guitar solo category. Rowan King gave a contemplative and melancholy rendition of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Prelude No. 5 in D Major, while Wendell Moreau’s rendition of Antonio Lauro’s Seis Por Derecho was a light, cantosome rhythm with hidden nuances.

In the opera for upper voices category, Clarice Beeput performed Sul Fil from a Soffio Etesio by Guiseppi Verdi. Victoria Griffith gave a moving and powerful performance of Glaucomo Puccini’s Un Belle Di Vedremo.

Andre Mangatal and Jake Salloum were the two participants in the opera category for low voices. Mangatal gave a poignant rendition of Gaetano Donizetti’s Una Furtiva Lagrima, while Salloum’s rendition of Georges Bizet’s Je Trois Entendre Encore was romantic.

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

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