Government House goes classical
Local Vibes
December 3, 2004
Government House goes classical

The need for a top quality instrument drove Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne earlier this year to ensure that a piano was available for classical concerts and resulted in him receiving two as gifts from the corporate community. One piano, a gift from Cable & Wireless, is located at Government House while the other was placed at the disposal of the Peace Memorial Hall.{{more}}

A cross section of Vincentians heard the first production with the new grand piano at Government House last week Thursday and, judging from the quality of the package and the audience’s response, there is every reason for a repeat performance.

On show was Sean Sutherland and a well blended cast of performers of international calibre.

Sutherland, back home after his stint at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he graduated in electrical engineering, computer science and music, displayed his maturity and mastery of the piano, his instrument, with colourful support from his supporting cast.

Sutherland unleashed several classical pieces which demonstrated his prowess. His combination with the Rhythmix Steel Orchestra exemplified his adaptability, for the piano and steel that resulted in an awesome combination. Their rare mixture soothed the audience.

Sutherland was the accompanist when Narissa Ballantyne, a 15-year-old soprano and fifth form student at the St. Joseph Convent Kingstown, sent the audience into ecstasy.

Her three songs, “Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento”, “Slumber Song”, and “I Feel Pretty” were pure dynamism.

The all-female group, Cantemus, showed the maturity that comes from 14 years of existence. Like wine, they seem to be getting better with age. Their version of “Dance With My Father” had more than a hypnotic impact. With piano accompaniment, first by Japanese Kiyoshi Staya, then by Donna Clarke, with her sister Deborah Williams on drums, and Joffre Venner on bass keeping the rhythm, it was no surprise that the audience erupted in rapturous applause with Cantemus’ second appearance.

The group Ministries Driven, engineered by Curtis Williams, drove home a direct message of spirituality in real life motion. The seven-strong ensemble, with three female vocalists, blended harmoniously with their four male counterparts led in profound baritone manner by Williams himself.

The quartet, Xpression, is one group Vincentians have to look out for – another product of the Joffre Venner Academy. Dexter Bacchus on saxophone, Earl Wilson on keyboards, Cauldric Wilson, bass, with Sheri Edwards as vocalist, complete the unit. Their blend is a unique one, as they are not restricted to any one kind of music. But with such a combination, there is a touch of ingenuity in the finished product.

Bacchus is now ready to survey the landscape before his seed gets time to germinate, for Xpressions is a seed being planted and the plant is still being nurtured.

Performances by Victor Job Jr. and Dominican-born Tariq Roberts ensure that the future of classical music is in youthful and capable hands.

Congratulations to Sir Frederick on a pleasant extravaganza.