10s all around

BY MIGUEL A THOMAS Associate Editor - Opinion thomasm@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, June 22, 2014

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THE Kingston Chapter of Soroptimist International of Jamaica staged the 10th Classics in June smorgasbord of music at the University Chapel last Sunday.

The evening's performances featured faithfuls and newcomers all in their own acclaim.

Admirably, the evening's accompanist, Karl van Richards, had the Chapel's grand piano producing music of myriad shades and tones. He showcased his ability to handle the grace of the classical genre, as well as the syncopation of a Jamaican Rumba.

Rochelle Smith, on violin, opened the programme with him in a Meditation. She then performed Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu. She was then joined by the mezzo soprano Christine MacDonald Nevers for the Flower Duet from Lakme, popularised in the late '80s by a British Airways ad. MacDonald Nevers then contributed Sheldon Harnick's Sarah's Encores. One patron commented, "she sounded as sweetly as she looked".

Jamaica Military Band trumpeter Ferdinand Campbell joined van Richards for Panis Angelicus then a solo performance of Schubert's Ave Maria.

Mezzo soprano June Thompson-Lawson got out of the blocks nervously and had to restart her piece from Mozart. She recovered well with a more comfortable performance of Bart's As Long As He Needs Me.

The Barnaby sisters of flautist Laurice and dancer Loraine put in a commendable performance. The two thrilled with a snake charmer-esque piece by Claude Debussy titled Syrinx.

Tenor Rory Baugh truly impressed with two Italian pieces Nebbie and E Lucevan le stele from Tosca. While both were not well known, the high drama and height of his notes had the audience hanging on to deliver the applause.

The first half closed with concert violinist Steven Woodham teaming with versatile pianist Maria Jose Parker to present the intense Scherzo in C Minor by Brahms and Astor Piazzolla's Milonga Sin Palabras, which was an elegant dance between the instruments.

The audience returned from intermission to the well-known Air from Suite in D by Bach by organist Dwight McBean.

Nothing could prepare the audience for what they would hear next.

Compére Pierre Lemaire's introduction of the piece which quoted Maria Cristina Mena: "The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colours in your mind," would set the tone.

It was The Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 played by van Richards and musician Roderick Demmings Jr on the single grand piano. Arthur Benjamin's Jamaican Rumba followed; the audience was visibly thrilled. Rafael Salazar, on clarinet, then joined van Richards for two pieces (Arabesque No 1 and Solo de Concours). The two truly entertained and has fun themselves.

As the audience was introduced to the evening's final performer some dreaded the unavoidable end of such a feast.

Soprano Lori Burnett blew the audience away with Lee Hoiby's Where the Music Comes From and Shepherd on the Rock -- though from a German text, the audience was transported along its three emotions of loneliness, sorrow and joy. Burnett's ability to caress the gymnastic musical leaps and dark depths of sorrow left the audience stunned. She received a standing ovation led by the musicians of the evening.

She closed the show with Francesco Sartori's beloved Time To Say Goodbye with Rory Baugh.





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