John Thomas

DUET: John Thomas, left, and Dr Leslie Lewis-Alleyne perform “I Believe”.

A crossing on a Bridge over Troubled Water to a place where we can all believe.

That’s what singer/producer John Thomas provided everyone in ear shot at the launch of the 2019 edition of his “Believe, The Secret of Christmas” musical production, on Tuesday evening, at MovieTowne, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain.

The fifth staging of the charity concert comes off on December 21 and 22. Among its benefactors are the John E Sabga Foundation; ParentingTT; Lady Hochoy Home; Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society; St Mary’s Children Home; music programme. The Shanghai Construction company is platinum sponsor.

On launch night Mya Scott, Nakita Gadsby and Mahalia Pierre literally froze time at the teeming Fiesta Plaza with a show-stopping cover of the (Paul) Simon & (Art) Garfunkel classic “Bridge over Troubled Water”. Their flawless harmonies brought a hush to the chatty social space. All eyes were glued on the threesome. And when Scott set off on series of jaw-dropping vocal runs some diners were seen stuck in mid-chew. The cheers and applause that followed was deafening.

Thomas said the growing success of the “Believe” movement is a testament to the melting pot of creative talents that lend their expertise to the project.

“We do not accomplish anything alone. Whatever achievement is the result of the whole tapestry of contributions and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something. We stand firm in our belief that through creative expression we can be even greater still,” Thomas said.

Teenaged vocal prodigy, Clarice Beeput, and young cellist, Chelsea Fensom, showed the future of the project is in good hands with stirring performances of the Yuletide classic “Oh Holy Night” and “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”, Beeput was particularly impressive. The immensely talented soprano recently attained the highest regional score in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate Music exam.

Mayor: ‘Port of Spain is still in love with Christmas’

Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez said the talent on display on the night is a clear indicator that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was right to declare the capital as a city of music.

“We are now known as the city of music, a distinction we received just one month ago from UNESCO. ‘Believe’ the concert is an excellent sample of the creativity that resides in our city.

“We are now part of the creative cities of the world network. The creative city (title) is more than just a tourist attraction. It is sustainable for the development of our arts and culture into an economic generator,” Martinez said.

The mayor said both the tone of the music and its reception also reminds him that Port of Spain maintains a love affair with the Yuletide season.

“This is my third year celebrating the Christmas season with you as mayor of Port of Spain. I must say that every time this period comes around there’s certain cheerfulness in the air. It is an atmosphere that always warms my heart because it shows that Port of Spain is still in love with the joy and happiness that Christmas brings,” he said.

Howard Sabga, chairperson of Lady Hochoy Home expressed their gratitude on behalf of patron Zalayhar Hassanali, who was seated in the front row, for the funds donated by Believe.

“The homes are government funded and we are so thankful for the assistance, however, the running cost is always in the deficit as we strive to satisfy all locations. Hence we are grateful for the assistance given by citizen.

“This guy with the Believe franchise and his incredible team so often steps up to the plate and offers his support. We are quite fortunate that John considers us to be part of his annual fund-raising concert and a recipient. I do believe, no pun intended, we get more than we bargain for. The performance, music the entire cast is world-rated,” Sabga said.

Thomas, meanwhile, said that individual talent only accounts for a small percentage of success in music. He said, the support of parents, friends, mentors, the performance community and corporate sponsors is crucial to staging successful productions.

“They say that success comes when preparation meets opportunity. I know that we are ready. Thank you for taking the chance on this small town boy with big dreams for himself and his country.

“Thank you believing in us and being part of our story,” he concluded.


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