Friday 6th July, 2007

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Oliver stands out

Oliver Twist (Allan Clelland-Goddard) is enticed by the Artful Dodger (Dimitri Pollard). Photo: Zen Dionne Jarrette

I was taken back to my childhood days in a most euphoric manner last Friday when I attended the staging of Oliver! at Queen’s Hall.

Some outstanding performances by very young actors reinforced my belief that there is hope yet for our future. The roles of Oliver Twist played by Junior Calypso Monarch Allan Clelland-Goddard; The Artful Dodger, Dimitri Pollard, also a former junior calypso monarch, and Nancy, played by Hanna Howard, were performed with panache and maturity.

Throughout the musical I had to constantly remind myself that Allan and Dimitri were pre-teens, their performances belying their ages.

Presented by The UWI Festival Arts Chorale, in association with the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UWI, the production earned all marks available for outstanding set design, wardrobe and music. Oliver! was directed by Louis Mc Williams, its music directed by Jessel Murray, with choreography by Hazel Franco, assisted by Adele Bynoe. The authentic wardrobe was by Camille Rajnauth, assisted by Maria Mc Shine-Ransome, Teresa Monsegue and Kristen Rajnauth, while Angela Francis and her team were responsible for some stunning make-up.

When it comes to directing and music it doesn’t get better than Mc Williams and Murray. Among some of the memorable productions I’ve been fortunate to experience by the director are Sing de Chorus; Ogun Iyan-As in Pan; and, The Dragon Can’t Dance. Murray’s conducting of the National Sinfonia was spot-on as well.

In the acting department I was also impressed by the roles of Maurice Rawlins as Fagin, and Teron Lougheed as the murderer Bill Sykes.

It’s a pity and loss to the national community that Oliver! could not be recorded for subsequent use on television, or reprised during the August school holidays.

Desperadoes and saints

Fondly known as “Pinky” by colleagues and fans alike, this Witco Desperadoes tenor player gives his all during the band’s performance on Saturday night, at Dining with the Saints, at St Mary’s College in Port-of-Spain.
Photo: Zen Dionne Jarrette

Witco Desperadoes showed its class last Saturday night when the Laventille Hill steel orchestra wowed guests attending Dining with the Saints, the annual fund-raising dinner hosted by St Mary’s College’s ex-pupils association. Playing two sets on the evening, Desperadoes was joined in providing live entertainment by David Baptiste & B-Sharp.

Though devoid of Chinaware and sterling cutlery, Dining with the Saints was a most enjoyable event, attracting, according to one organising committee member, well over a thousand diners. Even on cursory observation it was obvious that organisers went beyond the call to ensure an enjoyable time for everyone, including mounting huge, bright lamps for four blocks, employing foot and bike patrols, as well as a shuttle service, guaranteeing security for parked vehicles and patrons.

The ambience was also enhanced through the participation of cooks from other schools, inclusive of “chefs” from QRC, Fatima College, St Joseph’s Convent and Holy Name Convent. Some of the celebrity chefs seen in the “kitchen” were Works minister Colm Imbert, former government minister Gus Ramrekersingh, Nicky Inniss, Ron “Beef” Pollard, Sayeed Emamali, Lawford Dupres, Waz Hosein and Ainsworth Mohammed.

Black Friday at the Oval

Having turned in an entertaining performance, Queen’s Park Cricket Club calypso monarch Wayne “Doppy” Dopson (centre) is congratulated by friends at Queen’s Park Oval. Photos: David Wears

GUESTS in attendance at the launch of a CD by Queen’s Park Cricket Club calypso monarch Wayne “Doppy” Dopson on June 22 at the Queen’s Park Oval were in unison in the view that the club should make Friday evenings a regular liming session.

With this mind, the club’s events committee has come up with most unique lime for Black Friday (July 13), where the artistes billed have some form of association to “blackness,” with special prices on “black drinks.”

Tentatively billed to perform are Black Stalin, Shadow, Black Prince and Black Sage, and among the drinks specials are Johnny Walker Black, Black Label rum, Guinness and Angostura’s popular Black rum mix.

Doppy’s debut CD launch was a most enjoyable affair, with guest appearances by Calypso Queen and past national monarch Denyse Plummer and Colin Borde. He will have yet another launch of his CD this evening at the monthly Harvard Club lime, from 7 pm.

Sharing the spotlight with him will be police calypsonian/balladeer Peter Cipriani, retro band Paradise and DJ Small Boxx.

Calypso Queen Denyse Plummer leads the congaline as she performs at the Queen’s Park Oval at the launch of Wayne “Doppy” Dopson’s debut CD.

Saying thanks

Heartfelt thanks to the “old girls” of Bishop Anstey High School (BAHS), principal Patsy Ann Rudder, former head girl Wendy Rocke and the faculty for having me as a special guest at Monday night’s Fifth Form graduation dinner at Hilton Trinidad.

While I was lodged in the bosom of a lively Hilarians lime, which included Valerie Bowrin, Lorraine Granderson, Jill Padmore, Natalie Best, Charmaine St Louis and Ann Moore, my every need was specially looked after. Acknowledged for years as an honorary Hilarian (eat your heart out Russell Huggins), I felt right at home in a packed ballroom of past and present BAHS girls.

Playboyz celebrate

ANGOSTURA Woodbrook Playboyz is celebrating its tenth anniversary at the end of the month, and to mark the occasion a week of celebrations has been planned, featuring some of the best steel orchestras on the planet.

The week of celebrations commences on July 30 with an “evening of prayer and thanksgiving” at the band’s panyard at 57 Tragarete Road, Newtown. The following evening, there will be a concert featuring PCS Starlift and Playboyz.

As usual, on the Emancipation Day holiday (August 1), Playboyz will join thousands in the Emancipation Support Committee’s street procession. Band manager Brian Kuei Tung said the public could expect a special repertoire on the road this year.

On August 2, Playboyz’s band in the spotlight will be reigning National Panorama champion Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars. The curtain falls on celebrations on Friday, August 3, with a performance by Witco Desperadoes.

NY Panorama Sizzles

The season has just begun and already there have been some major developments on the New York 2007 Panorama scene that could have far reaching effects on the Big Apple's steelband music landscape for years to come. 

Sesame Flyers has secured the services of respected arranger Pelham Goddard (who arranged for Marsicans from 2002-2005) and Harmony has brought Ken "Professor" Philmore (who last arranged in New York for Sonatas in 2003). Both Sesame and more so Harmony, are young groups, but they have made significant strides and progress in recent years, however.

The introduction of these two proven arrangers into the bands’ respective mixes will raise expectations for these two music organisations as they contend for a position among the New York Panorama heavyweights.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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