frontline performs

CLASSIC JAM: Massy Trinidad All Stars tenor frontline performs at the Classical Jewels XI concert at National Academy for the Performing Arts in 2017. Photos: Maria Nunes

Classic music from the silver screen played on chrome pans.

It’s an exciting proposition for pan aficionados and film buffs alike. And if you fall in the sweet subset of both, it’s enough to make you go cycling over the moon like Elliot carrying an ET (extra tenor) of your own.

Massy Trinidad All Stars is bringing your favourite film scores to the stage with their concert “Classical Jewels XII: The Movie” next weekend at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain.

All Stars, who are set to celebrate their 85th anniversary next year, is the oldest steel orchestra in the world. Their Classical Jewels concert series, which was established in the 70s, has helped successfully position the national instrument as a diverse musical tool capable of performing virtually any genre of music.

All Stars manager Nigel Williams says the band has built on that legacy by extending the concept and performing movie themes that will transcend different eras and appeal to all ages.

“We are seeing it more as a production than a concert, including pieces that include acting and drama from those nostalgic moments in (film) from Western, Sci-fi, thriller, musicals, adventures, Disney family movies and even recent blockbusters. So basically this year’s theme, “The Movie”, is a production that comprises different movie themes merged into one grand movie,” an excitable Williams told Kitcharee on Friday.

Finding the right players

Williams said to keep within the film theme the band held auditions in order to cast the right players for specific roles.

Musical director Dr Mia Gormandy-Benjamin and assistant director Sule Sampson lead the project which includes collaborations with the UTT choir; National Philharmonic Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago; Prof Simon Browne, Prof Hayward Mickens, Dr Roger Henry, Danielle Williams, Kory Mendez, Shellon Antoine, Anton Williams and Wasafoli Trinidad and Tobago.

“Dr Gormandy-Benjamin played a large role in selecting the repertoire: in addition, she sourced, transcribed, and arranged most of the pieces that Trinidad All Stars play.

“The fact that The National Philharmonic Orchestra, UTT choir and Wasafoli Trinidad and Tobago are included in this production is also testament of the type of talent that exists right here in our twin-island republic. The collaboration between each group and Trinidad All Stars will be climatic and should invoke a pride that this is who we are and what we have to offer to the world,” he said.

All Stars musical graduate Kygel Benjamin will conduct the Trinidad All Stars Youth Orchestra during a special performance. The youth orchestra musical director has come in for high praise with his work with the youngsters in the All Stars camp. The youth orchestra crucially feeds the main orchestra with quality, highly trained and qualified players that take pride in and understand the All Stars brand.

Williams, meanwhile, says the Classical Jewels concert is a true test and display of the musicianship of the band.

“Classical Jewels has always been about pushing the band’s capacity as musicians: can we, in fact, play the most complex of melodies? How do we combine our instrument with traditional ones, voice, or movement? There is no better way to usher in 85 than being at the peak of our musical abilities. Classical Jewels helps us attain this excellence,” he proudly declared.

Tickets for “Classical Jewels XII: The Movie” are $350 and are available at NLCB outlets, and NAPA box office. Discounted tickets are available at $300 and are available from select Massy Stores branches with a Massy Card, and at NAPA or Trinidad All Stars with a TTARP card.


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