January 16, 2009
Gaymes strikes good note at Berkley

by Omesha Spence 16.JAN.09

Andrea Gaymes has returned to St.Vincent with an impressive handful of honors to her name. Gaymes, who left the shores of St. Vincent to fine tune her already magnificent voice she had, is back from the five-week summer Performance Programme at the Berklee College of Music.{{more}}

Gaymes received a scholarship to Berklee after auditioning for the Berklee College Music World Tour Scholarship personnel who were brought to St. Vincent and the Grenadines through the efforts of the National Cultural Foundation in association with the Ministry of Culture.

She then organized a concert: “Expression Music, a young girl’s passion” to raise funds for her trip abroad.

Gaymes received four grade As for Pop/R&B styles lab for Voice, Background Vocal Lab, 5 week Ensemble and Rhythm Section Grooves for Voice.

She received Bs in 5 week Private Lesson for Voice and Theory in Performance and a C in Musicianship. Andrea also did electives in Performance Perspectives, Survey of local styles, Great Performers and Singers Drum Circle.

When asked about her experiences at Berklee, Gaymes feels privileged to have participated in such a prestigious programme.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “I learnt things I never knew before and built on the things that I already knew.” In addition, Gaymes has also received training from top professors and musicians, some of whom have composed music for Christina Aguilera and stared in the Broadway production The Lion King.

Gaymes was also exposed to music from many places like Puerto Rico, France, Germany and Africa and encountered many musicians who majored in saxophone, harp and violin, an experience she said she greatly enjoyed. “It made my environment comfortable. It motivates you to see people dedicated as you are. It inspires you to work harder,” she said.

Andrea is currently pursuing studies at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, in Psychology. However, she has not abandoned her love for singing, as she has applied to Berklee for a degree in Performance in 2011. “I have two passions,” she related. The best thing to do is to pursue both instead of leaving the other neglected.”

Gaymes admits that some courses were challenging, but has seen the results of her training in her performances, which she says are stronger. “ It (training) has strengthened my techniques. I can sing without having to take breaths,” she said. She said she also feels more confident when signing.

When asked what advice she would give to musicians like herself, Gaymes encouraged others to put trust and faith in God and to have determination. “To musicians, the world of the performing arts is not easy, but it will only turn out the way you shape it to be. Invest time and energy into developing and shaping your talent.”

Andrea wishes to thank her mother Claudette Howard, her father Daniel Gaymes, her teachers, vocal trainers and persons who helped her in achieving her goals.