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Monday 9 December 2019
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Marionettes to pay tribute to Waithe

Desmond Waithe
Desmond Waithe

The BP Marionettes will present Forward Home at Queen’s Hall, St Ann's this weekend, under the artistic direction of Gretta Taylor. The concert will feature Calling All Dawns — which the choir performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in June, conducted by the composer, Christopher Tin.

The Marionettes' New York City performance this year, as part of a massed choir, is yet another addition to its impressive list of accomplishments.

Calling All Dawns is a classical crossover album by Tin released in 2009, which won two Grammy awards for Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the song Baba Yetu. It was that song— as performed by the Marionettes— that caught the attention of the producers, leading subsequently to the NYC invitation.

Music lovers attending the concert will appreciate the work’s diverse languages, musical styles and traditions from around the world, including opera, Portuguese fado, African choral music, Maori haka chanting, Indian classical and more, said a media.

Forward Home also includes a special dedication to accomplished musician and educator, Desmond Waithe, with a calypso and folk celebration of his arrangements through the years.

Waithe is no stranger to local adult and youth choirs such as La Petite Musicale and his very own Stentor Choir. He has also arranged for numerous steel orchestras, and calypso and folk ensembles. His relationship with Marionettes began in 1980, when the group commissioned him to adapt his celebrated steelband arrangement of Sparrow’s Slave for the choir (Fantasia on the Slave). Since that time and over nearly 40 years, Waithe has contributed monumentally both at home and on tour as arranger, chorister and cuatrista, said a media release.

Waithe is currently the musical director of the BP Renegades steelband, having also served in that capacity with Exodus’ Exocubs. He has enjoyed several successes with both orchestras at various music festivals in TT, France, Austria and more recently, Germany. He also taught for over ten years in the Music Department of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). In 1993, he was awarded the Humming Bird Medal (silver) for Outstanding Contribution to Music in TT.

On Saturday and Sunday patrons will be treated to some of his more popular arrangements for choirs, including Andre Tanker’s Sayamanda and Morena Osha; Ken "Professor" Philmore’s Pan by Storm; Lord Nelson’s King Liar; Ella Andall’s Rhythm of a People; local and regional folk music like John Boulay, Evening Time (Jamaica), Salguiero (Brazil) and La Porrinden, from the French-speaking Caribbean. The concert actually takes its name from the classic André Tanker piece of the same name.

Forward Home will feature several soloists from the adult and youth chorales, including Jacqueline Johnson and Hermina Charles, with Errol James and Marc Morancie; Youth Chorale soloists like Dominique Akal, Aysiah McEachnie Assing, Zachary Joel and Annalise Emmanuel; and special appearances by Nigel Floyd and Debbie Nahous.

Forward Home will take place for two nights on Saturday and Sunday at 7.30 pm and 5 pm respectively.

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