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Choirs in harmony

Toni Yarde

Choirs in harmony

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Thirteen primary schools and three secondary schools all sang lustily in two separate competitions Sunday at the 2011 Schools Choir Competition Finals, at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
The event – staged by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, along with A&B Music Supplies – saw a more fiercely contested primary schools’ segment of the show.
Like clockwork, just after brief welcoming remarks from Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Ronald Jones, the first primary school choir took to the stage.
It was the choir of St Bartholomew’s, who got the night’s proceedings off to a fine start with an original song called Gone. The piece, which reflected on things past, evoked a nostalgic feeling. The tempo quickened when St Matthew’s rendered the calypso Kay Lay Kay Lay Pom Pom by The Opels. That was enough to secure them third spot and the prize for Most Improved.
Cuthbert Moore gave a lively performance of their original piece The Landship. Much to the delight of the crowd, a man “fell over board” during “rough seas”. They placed second overall.
The two primary schools from the parish of St Philip both offered original numbers. St Philip’s Primary did a groovy piece called St Philip On The Move. They highlighted all the areas of interest in the parish. Their neighbours Hilda Skeene also performed an original number, one penned by a Class 3 student. That song, David Thompson, given a very soulful treatment, was good enough to be named Best Original Song.
Fourth-place winners South District, as well as St Elizabeth, Vauxhall and Arthur Smith, all performed in the first half.
The religious offerings came in the second half from schools like Mount Tabor, St Giles and Grantley Prescod. But it was a beautiful rendition of a harmonized medley that made Sharon the most outstanding primary school of the night.
That choir’s Gospel Medley, a powerful mix of old-time gospel songs, with a touching solo from Ronesha Broomes, was all that was needed to take the St Thomas school to the top. At the end of the night the school’s choristers walked away with prizes for Most Dynamic Song, Best Rendition, Best Arranged Song and Best Solo. The school’s director Ronald Bullen also won the Choir Director Award in the primary section.
In the secondary schools segment only three of the four scheduled choirs competed, making that segment less keenly contested. Christ Church Foundation emerged the winners of that segment. An energetic performance of the gospel song Imagine Me brought the Gymnasium crowd to their feet. Some waved hands as choir director Lowrie Worrell urged the audience to join in. He was later adjudged the winner of the secondary section’s Choir Director Award.
Lester Vaughan School took second spot with a medley, while Harrison College did an original piece called Allegiance.
Patrons were also treated to performances by St Leonard’s Boys’ Choir, Barbados Junior Strings, High Level Dance Group, Aziza Clarke and Myles Gittens. Emcee for the night was Jamarr Brown.