Misty-Ann Knights was the first winner at the 33 Biennial Music Festival put on by the TT Music Festival Association (TTMSA) at the Queen’s Hall, St Ann's.
On Sunday, the festival opened with a cocktail reception in the May Johnstone Room and was followed by opening remarks by Dr Jessel Murray, chairman of the TTMSA. The National Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of musical director Roger Henry, followed and performed Hookin' Meh, Music (Dingolay) and God Bless Our Nation which thrilled the audience.
Deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and The Arts, Beverley Reid-Samuel delivered the feature address and opened the festival on behalf of Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
The competition began with Class A3 Oratorio Solo female in which seven singers took part. In the end, Knights won with 88 points for a very dramatic performance of Thy Sentence Great King from Solomon by Handel. Alliyah Boland was second with 87 points for her performance of Arie from the Magnificat by Bach. In third place was Clarice Beepat's O had I Jubal's Lyre from Handel's Messiah.
Adjudicator Richard Tan Yuk used the new ruling where the (adjudicators) can recommend the second place to move on to the finals and sent Boland forward.
Up next was Class A4 Oratorio Solo male and here five singers faced the adjudicator and Kory Mendez came out the winner with If with all your heart from Elijah by Mendelessohn. Again, Tan Yuk used the new ruling and recommended that second-placed singer Marc Morancie, who performed But Who May Abide from Handel's Messiah, move on to the finals. Placing third was Cecil Cuthbert with Air from Christmas Oratorio by Saint-Saens.
The evening continued with special performances by pannist Ojay Richards and pianist Johanna Chuckaree. A speech was made Dr Euric Bobb, chairman of Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd (MHTL), the diamond sponsor of the festival, and a vote of thanks was done by Rowena Wattley, chair South Music Festival Committee.
The evening came to an end with a fantastic performance by the award-winning choir Jeunes Agape.
Competition in the music festival continues until March 28 at venues in Port of Spain, San Fernando and Tobago.