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NDTC shares its music

Sunday, December 01, 2019

For over a half a century the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) has become known for its contribution to the artistic life of post-independent Jamaica.

Hand-in-hand with its contribution to the Jamaican dance vocabulary is, its contribution to the maintenance of music contraditions through the NDTC Singers, a group originally used as a filler during the performances of the dance troupe, but which has subsequently taken on a life of its own.

The company will stage its final major performance for 2019, The Music of the NDTC at Little Theatre in St Andrew, this Wednesday, December 4 at 7:00 pm

The event which is being used to close off the company's year-long celebration of its 57th anniversary, will see seasoned and emerging singers and musicians in performance led by Acting Musical Director Dr Kathy Brown. The programme will showcase the company's musical repertoire, which ranges from traditional folk, to reggae, pop, gospel and classical music.

Brown's arrangement of select works by dancehall deejay Buju Banton songs in a medley entitled Journey, will again take centre stage, after receiving rave reviews in the 57th Season of Dance in July. Her work continues with a special tribute to the late music icon Noel Dexter who, along with Rex Nettleford, created choral theatre for the University Singers. The musical tribute is a suite of Christmas songs, written and composed by Dexter, arranged by Brown and with movement by the company's movement director, Kevin Moore.

Guest artiste and NDTC alumna Dawn Fuller Phillips, along with musician Devon Malcolm Brewster will perform alongside the company. Fuller Phillips will pair with Faith Livingstone for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu, while Shane Wright and Joshua Page will lead Bless the Lord (Son of Man) and You Made A Way, respectively. The music of Jimmy Cliff, which has been a staple in the works of the company's late artistic director, Professor Rex Nettleford, will be performed by Toni Barrett.

The chorale will also deliver performances Donkey's Tale, a suite of Jamaican folk songs arranged by Heston Boothe and Music Captain Conrod Hall and negro spiritual Done Made My Vow.

The full complement of singers comprises sopranos: Kaydene Gordon, Carolyn Reid-Cameron, Christine Walters; contraltos Helen Christian, Debrah-Ann Rosewelt, Kimone Johnson; Tenors Kemar Lee, Joshua Page, Shane Wright and Emil Livingstone and bass, Conrod Hall. They will be supported by master drummer, Henry Miller, Jesse Golding, Franklyn Constantine on bass guitar and Kevin Kerr on keyboard. Live drumming will open the showcase and set the ancestral rhythms that will reverberate throughout the performance.

The programme will close with dancers joining the singers and musicians for Nettleford's masterwork Kumina.