Entertainment

Impressive showing from Immaculate

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer staff reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 26, 2013    

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THE Immaculate Conception High School Symphony Orchestra put on a masterful performance at Sunday's second staging of Expression of Love at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in downtown Kingston.

The orchestra, under the baton of renowned violinist Stephen Woodham, commanded the attention of the audience from the very first note of their opening piece — Aaron Miller's Wildwood Overture.

The talented students, with the assistance of a few 'friends', would hold the audience through their presentations which followed.

Among the pieces chosen by the orchestra were Pirates of the Caribbean, in which the spirit of Jack Sparrow was brought to life inside the splendid cathedral. Jovani William displayed his impressive violin skills on Meditation -- from the opera Thais by Massenet. His solo brought to mind the performance of the conductor Woodham when he performed the same piece alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra last year.

Waves crashed, winds howled and thunder rolled as the orchestra continued to thrill with The Tempest by John Smith.

For their final pieces, the orchestra was joined by the Immaculate Conception High School Glee Club for the popular folk song Fi Mi Love Have Lionheart.

The Kingston College Chapel Choir added their voices on The Mission just before the rousing finale — Noel Dexter's O Praise Ye the Lord.

The orchestra has grown by leaps and the student-musicians delivered a full, rich, professional sound.

The performance by the orchestra would save the event as the performance by headliner, Spanish pianist David Gomez did not have the sparkle it did when he performed here just over a year ago.

The request by Gomez to turn off the lights in the chapel may have had the opposite effect.

The intent was to allow for reflection with the sound being the focal point. Instead, patrons used the cover of darkness for whisperings, shuffling and other forms of distraction.

There is no doubt that Gomez is an excellent artiste and performer. His musicianship was indeed arresting, this was even more apparent when he doubled on accordion and piano simultaneously in one of his pieces.

His performance could have benefited from some amplification. This was even more apparent during his introduction of the pieces as his voice was swallowed up by the high domes of the cathedral.

The event had opened with the Glee Club and KC Chapel Choir.

Both had great voices, although the all-girl choir could benefit from some more depth and variation. Director Allison Wallace could have injected some movement and choreography into the Jamaican medley. It was painful to watch a performance including songs by folklorist Miss Lou without movement. In contrast, the all-male voices of the KC choir entertained and moved with their rendition of Caribbean Hallelujah.

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