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The Marionettes 'Holiday Moods'

BY ANGELA PIDDUCK Monday, December 8 2008

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THE MARIONETTES are celebrating their 45th anniversary. In marking that milestone, the choir’s musical/artistic director Gretta Taylor saluted two enterprising musicians, Jocelyn Pierre and June Williams-Thorne, who gathered some singers together in 1963 to participate in the 1964 Music Festival. Eleven years later, when it was difficult for Pierre to continue, Taylor was persuaded to give up her role as part-time accompanist and backline chorister and take over the reins of the choir.

For more than three decades, the Chorale has mounted a Christmas concert. When their traditional venue, Queen’s Hall, was being rebuilt, they moved to another location.

On Thursday night, Robert Riley, chairman and CEO of bpTT, which has sponsored the chorale since 1972, hosted a cocktail reception prior to the gala opening performance of Holiday Moods, which was in aid of the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society.

The concert continues throughout this weekend, with an extra performance at 3 pm for children, adults and seniors, as well as at 8 pm and tomorrow at 5 pm.

The very enjoyable cocktail reception was hosted on the grounds of Queen’s Hall. The setting under a very large tent, where lots of delicious canapés and a variety of drinks were served, left one feeling one could sit outside for the entire evening. However, time came when we were courteously ushered into the Hall by the bpTT staffers.

I wondered about the two first items performed, Chichester Psalms 1 and 111, very solemn music, but after reading the programme, I appreciated that this music was dedicated to the late Daphne Clifford, who taught music to hundreds in this country for 18 years and passed away in the United Kingdom in late October.

The Ragtime Section, David Rudder’s “Ganges and the Nile”, the late Andre Tanker’s “Saymanda” and Ella Andall’s “Rhythm of a People” were all brought back by popular request from the Chorale’s mid-2008 production “Tributes.” Taylor said she hoped that with a new President-elect in the United States, “maybe the message in Ragtime, especially the stirring ‘Till we reach that day’ will take on new significance.”

The Christmas segment, which came after the interval, would have been what most of the audience looked forward to and definitely enjoyed, as some of the words of popular carols were printed at the back of the programme for a “sing-along .”

The Marionettes Youth Chorale’s Santa Suite included old favourites like “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.” Young soloists included Tahira Osborne, and a promising Timel Rivas, the youngest member, who placed first in last month’s Sanfest Youth Calypso Competition.

Pan had its moment in the spotlight with Johann Chuckaree’s Christmas medley, a pan solo.

The finale, two parang songs, was disappointing. All in all however, it was a good effort by the Marionettes Chorale.

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