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Strings and young voices

Gercine Carter

Strings and young voices

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It was indeed The Classical Best Of Youth as the Rotary Club of Barbados South presented a concert so billed at the Frank Collymore Hall last weekend.
The Barbados National Youth Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Joy Knight-Lynch; St Leonard’s Boys’ Choir, conducted by their teacher and mentor Andrew Lokey; and soprano Amanda Fields treated a very supportive audience to a smorgasborg of music befitting the season that earned them all a standing ovation at the end.
The concert was a Rotary Club South and West fund-raiser for their Inclusive Play Project, through which a playground and recreational facility will be built at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
It is an initiative that Rotary Club South president Irving Burrowes said was designed to give children with disabilities the facilities to play and also to “peel away the stigma” associated with disabilities. The project also aimed to remove barriers while providing the tools to enhance the cognitive, motor and social skills of disabled children.
The programme opened with the Youth Symphony Orchestra playing Richard Rodgers’ It’s Christmas Time, followed by the theme from Harry Potter and engaging excerpts from The Nutcracker Suite and Tchaikovsky’s Valse Des Fleurs.
The dapperly dressed boys and young men of St Leonard’s next joined the Youth Orchestra for the Christmas sing-a-long that included the audience in the singing of Christmas carols.
The second half of the concert undoubtedly belonged to St Leonard’s and their voices soared with renditions such as Cesar Franck’s Panis Angelicus, Edelweiss from The Sound Of Music, Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and John Rutter’s Barcarolle.
Fields was warmly received by the audience, among whom were many who had attended her first recital in March 2005 at the Frank Collymore Hall. Ever since that first appearance, the young soloist has been thrilling audiences – sharing the stage with international performers at Holders Season and appearing as a soloist with the Cecilian Singers and the Myriad Singers.
Her modesty peeked through her performance on Saturday night, but her voice shone with a radiance that reached the hearts of her audience.
Cherise Roberts, a 2007 Irving Burgie awardee and the principal flute of the Youth Orchestra, stepped out from the group to give a solo performance of Perilhou’s Balade For Flute.
When the St Leonard’s Boys’ Choir teamed up with the Youth Orchestra for the final performance of Hallelujah from Handel’s Messiah, one could not resist the feeling of elation at hearing these young people perform and seeing their breasts swelling with their own pride at delivering as anticipated. For Knight-Lynch and Lokey, it must have been a singular momentof accomplishment for the hard work they continue to put into training these young musicians.
They not only give them a feeling of self-worth, but also provide an outlet for expression of their wealth of talent while honing that talent to be enjoyed by people who love music.