THE threat of rain did nothing to dampen the great music which resounded throughout Hope Gardens in St Andrew on Sunday evening.
With ominous clouds hovering and slight intermittent drizzle, the bands of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Band (JCF) kicked off the 2013 concert season from the Shell Bandstand inside the historic botanical gardens in fine style, by offering an eclectic mix determined to satisfy the most discriminating musical taste.
The music, arranged and conducted by the JDF's Warrant Officer 1 Albert Hird and the JCF's Deputy Superintendent Winston Woolcock moved seamlessly from the classical to contemporary. It had the attention of the captive audience which had gathered on the natural slopes and greens which create an amphitheatre facing the bandstand and who came equipped with picnic chairs, blankets and umbrellas.
The programme was divided into halves. The first featured a combined orchestra featuring musicians from the Jamaica Regiment Band, the Jamaica Military Band and the Jamaica Constabulary Force Band. The musical fare included Shostalovich's Festive Overture, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Changes Everything and a delightful suite of tunes by big band great Glenn Miller. A selection of Jamaica folk and mento tunes would preceded two presentations which really got the audience involved.
The first was a tribute to the 1960s musical icons The Beatles. This presentation included popular tracks Hard Day's Night, Yesterday, Michelle and Hey Jude. Up next was a tribute to the King of Pop Michael Jackson. It was indeed a pleasure to hear the orchestra reproduce the pop tunes from the late superstar — Bad, I just Can't Stop Loving You, The Way You Me Feel and Man In The Mirror — all had patrons rocking and mouthing the tracks.
A 10-minute intermission would separate the halves after which it was the JCF Band which took to the stand to lead the charge with popular, contemporary tunes.
The cops added their vocal skills to their musicianship as Corporal Mervin Chin and Inspector Doran McCarthy supported by the trio Vocal Fingerprints served up tracks made possible by the likes of Gregory Isaacs, The Temptations, Toto, Tina Turner, Beres Hammond and Tarrus Riley.
Due to what seemed like the clear and present threat of rain the organisers had to curtail the event.
The Sunday concerts at Hope Gardens are organised by the Nature Preservation Foundation as a means of building awareness of its work and encourage Jamaicans to visit the gardens. No date has been set for the next concert.