Entertainment

Karen Smith for orchestra concerts

Sunday, April 22, 2018

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Renowned local cabaret act Karen Smith will be the special guest of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica (POJ) during its fifth annual spring concert, to be held on April 28 and 29 at the Swallowfield Chapel in St Andrew.

Smith will showcase her skill covering a number of music genres, including jazz, blues, pop and reggae- fusing each with the classical instrumentation of the orchestra. She will be joined by her husband, bass player Clifton “Jackie” Jackson, who was recently recognised by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) for his distinguished contribution to the local music industry.

Smith told the Jamaica Observer that performing with an orchestra has always been a dream.

“I am so excited. To perform with an orchestra is truly one of my dreams coming to fruition. It is made even more special knowing that this is a Jamaican orchestra and I'm performing here in Jamaica. When Mr Halliburton, who is the conductor, asked me to be their guest this year I said 'What! Most definitely'. I am super excited to work with this great set of talented young people,” she said

She is however guarded regarding her repertoire for the two shows, but noted that it was a vibrant mix of genres.

“It's somewhat out of the box as well as in the box for both myself and the orchestra. Some jazz , some Broadway stuff — a nice set, and I am so looking forward to the performances,” she added.

Smith has performed alongside an impressive list of international artistes, among them James Ingram, Natalie Cole, Chuck Mangione, Smokey Robinson, Seal and Harry Belafonte.

For openers, the POJ will be performing Beethoven's magnificent Symphony No 5 in C minor. The audience will also be treated to works by Dvorák and local composers Dr Andrew Marshall, with arrangements by Peter Ashbourne and Jon WiIliams.

Halliburton is encouraging lovers of music to attend.

“It will be both a memorable, as well as a significant event in the country's rich musical heritage.”

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica has been building an enviable reputation over the last few years, and has collaborated with top performers including Ana Strachan, Lori Burnett and the Jamaica Youth Chorale. Last year's concert season received high acclaim and featured The University Singers, which Halliburton also directs.

The orchestra aims to feature local composers and provide a fulfilling outlet for classically trained musicians in the country and region.

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