JYC sings for South Africa

By Sade Gardner
Observer writer

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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THE Jamaica Youth Chorale (JYC) needs $9 million to achieve its goal of competing in the World Choir Games in Africa in July.

Greg Simms, the nine-year-old group's principal and musical director, launched the choir's campaign at their third annual spring concert last Sunday at The University of the West Indies' Mona Chapel.

“We really wanna go; right now we're just working on our network and our connections so we can get the funding going and we can find creative ways to get corporate Jamaica and the public involved. It's really ambitious. South Africa ain't cheap but we wanna try,” Simms told the Jamaica Observer.

Established in 2010, the World Choir Games will be held from July 4 – 14 in Tshwane in South Africa.

The theme for this year's JYC concert, 'Journey', proved appropriate as selections took patrons on a voyage of spirituality and cultural awareness.

The first half of the presentation included Some Day, Caan Ketch Mi Again, Wonderful Jamaica and Wade in The Water. During the last rendition, the basses filled every crevice of the Chapel, complementing soft, reassuring harmonies.

The second half featured an Ode to South Africa arranged by musical director Dr Kathy Brown.

“We wanted to tell a story through music and vibes. I hope the audience got that. I hope it made them feel better; I try to not let anything too up-tempo forever or too drab forever,” he said.

Simms believes there is still an audience for chorale music in Jamaica.

“There is a vibrant chorale tradition in Jamaica. Some high schools still keep chorale music alive like Glenmuir, Mount Alvernia, and Cornwall. You have the festival programmes and The University Singers, the Jamaican Folk Singers. So many other choirs keep the music alive and just to share in that space is an honour,” he said.

Simms is satisfied with the JYC's own journey.

“It has been very rewarding, very fulfilling. One of the best parts of it is meeting some amazing young people. This is the first show we've done where none of the founding members are still on the choir, which speaks to growth and maintaining a standard. With a choir you always have to work it; it constantly grows and evolves, but it has been very fulfilling,” he said.




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