Last Saturday’s evening session in the 33rd Biennial Music Festival held at Queen’s Hall, St Ann's, proved to the best since the opening on March 1.
It was an evening of dynamic music where competitors truly outdid themselves, forcing adjudicator Dr Richard Tang Yuk to give out the highest marks to date.
The largest audience since the start of competition saw performances in Class OP A3 Contemporary Religious Solo– Ladies where the singers chose their own piece to perform.
The competition started with Jeannine Clarke doing Helen Baylor’s Sea of Forgetfulness, she was followed by Renee Lawrence and Telesha-Marie Gonzales who both chose How Great Thou Art as their piece.
Jenlly Williams was next with You Will Never Walk Alone. She was followed by Renee Lucas who chose Amazing Grace. Mia Jackman did His Eye is on the Sparrow while Clarice Beeput performed The Holy City. Seven listed competitors did not appear.
In his comments, Tang Yuk exclaimed, “Oh my God, this is a wonderful class, it was a treat! Because it is contemporary singing you have to be careful about the piece you choose, many of them start low and it will be a challenge if you have to go high. You have to be able to mix it, there must be a seamless transition with your voice even throughout.
Tang Yuk continued, “Most of you close your eyes when you are singing, we need to see your eyes. You must make eye contact with the audience.”
Beeput won the class with 90 points while Lawrence came second with 89 points and Clarke third with 87 points. The second class of the evening was Piano Solo and there was uncertainty about the test piece. Two pieces were listed and the adjudicator was not sure if competitors had to choose one.
Two competitors played one piece each while the third competitor played both pieces.
According to Tang Yuk playing piano is not easy. You practise at home on one and when you come here there is a totally different piano. He asked the competitors how long they started practising for the competition. One said two weeks, the other, one-and-a-half weeks and the third said one month.
Tang Yuk told them if he had to prepare for the competition he would have started in October. “You have to learn it slow with constant fingering. Then do the left hand alone before moving to the right hand alone.”
He awarded the certificate to Dominic Creece in front of Khalil Brice and Mc Kuelan Morris.
The third class of the evening was OP-B2 Mixed Vocal Duet with The Prayer as the test piece. Two of five competitors performed and Kevin Humphrey and Misty-Ann Knights and Kayin Jones and Lawrence were in a very close fight.
“Isn’t music an amazing thing, one of my pet peeve is breathing in the middle of a word especially if the phrase is not long. Usually, this class is more classical pieces but I see we are doing more modern music. How do you feel about that?”
There was a mixed reaction from the audience. Tang Yuk revealed he did not dislike it, once the performance is good and they must communicate with the audience. The final class of the night was Calypso Chorale with the groups choosing their own songs.
APA Folk Swingers was the lone participant in this class and put on a great performance of Shadow’s Music (Dingolay) and Kitchener’s Rainorama.
Tang Yuk said it was a fantastic performance and was very impressed with the vocal arrangements. It is a tight ensemble with great percussion.
He advised the altos to be careful that their voices not go flat and the men in the back row should project themselves more. He suggested that during practice one member of the choir goes out front to get a different perspective of things. He awarded APA Folk Swingers 93 points, the highest points for the week of competition.