Classical treat of music
WHETHER you are a classical music aficionado or a novice, there’s one thing that cannot be denied about the Harrison College Parent-Teacher Association’s recent concert, “. . . On The Grand Old Bechstein” – music touches the soul.
?It was an evening of sheer musical brilliance last Sunday evening, when past and present students and friends put on a euphonious treat for a nearly packed audience in the school’s hall.
The evening’s effort was a fund-raising drive for the music programme, and especially for the more than 100-year-old Bechstein piano, which was purchased by the school in the 1970s and restored for the event.
The brainchild of president of the PTA, David Weatherhead, and with Jean Holder serving as patron, the concert opened with the augmented School Orchestra performing Joe Utterback’s Deep River and Johannes Brahms Academic Festival overture.
The sweet notes and deep bass of Deep River were perfectly complemented later with the harmonious melody of the overture. Such was the score that the enjoyment was stamped on the faces of the students creating perfect blends to the enjoyment of the audience.
That it was followed by Brian Bonsor’s most impressive Serenata, which was arranged by the orchestra’s conductor Jerome Smithen, added the perfect final touch for the band of competent musicians.
The thumping beat of the bongo drums that underlay the entire number made you just want to get up and dance the samba.
During the course of the night it would have been hard to single out a favourite.
Everyone, from flautist Brendon Phillips, accompanied on piano by Shamar Butcher, to the bold vocals of Raymond Maughan in The Vagabond from Songs of Travel and especially Michael Andrew Clarke, who closed out the first half, was simply captivating in the performances.
Clarke, performing Mozart’s Piano Sonata in A Minor, was the perfect note on which to end the half, ensuring the audience would return from a light refreshment ready for more.
Now this piece, to novice or expert, is one that takes you on a journey of magnificent sound. Written at one of Mozart’s most difficult times, after the loss of his mother, each movement, from the Allegro Maestoso, which is like a celebration of life; to the Andante with its haunting notes of loss, and finally the Presto where the sounds of despair are enough to rend the heart, Clarke’s portrayal of this story is one that must stick in the mind.
Back from the break, it was Weatherhead, accompanied by Eric Cobham on the piano in Sonatino for Clarinet and Piano in G Minor, that got the audience settled once more with soulful notes.
Then, with the added magnificent vocals of soprano singer Amanda Fields, they set the heart aflutter in The Shepherd On The Rock by Franz Schubert.
When Fields returned to perform The Laughing Song, she held the crowd in rapture, so attuned was the hall to every note, every giggle, even every flick of her fan as the talented vocalist showed her terrific range and enjoyment of the selection.
By the time alum Lee B. Callender hit the stage for an extended set of The King of Love My Shepherd Is, Bach’s Arioso and his own arrangement of Roland Bryce’s The Adventures of The Three Blind Mice, the evening was already a tremendous success.
His speed on the keys was nothing short of amazing; the passion with which he launched into each piece astounding, and his delivery, nothing short of masterful as he told of the joy of being back on the keys performing.
It was, he earlier said, his first journey back home to Barbados in 27 years and the hall welcomed him with thunderous and deserving applause.
Though an abrupt end followed Phillips, Weatherhead and Callender’s last presentation of Sonny Rollin’s St Thomas, also arranged by Callender, even had there not been refreshments, this audience would have left with bellies and hearts filled, with music – and this writer with a new profound appreciation of classical music. (Green Bananas Media)