Local musician, Roger Gittens, accompanied by 10 Voices and a Saxophone Quartet delivered an enjoyable concert entitled Hymns, Psalms and Songs.
The event which was part of this year’s Barbados Classical Music Festival, was held on Friday, August 23 at the St James Anglican Church.
The 10 Voices, six females and four males, did justice to songs which were either musically arranged or rearranged by the talented musician. There was great harmony among the voices which included males who were once part of the St Leonard’s Boys Choir.
Gittens spoke freely in between the music in what could only be described as an unplugged session. He talked about family, teaching music at Barbados Community College, being a Methodist, working extensively during the recently concluded Crop Over season and more. That personable monologue of sharing intimate details of his life and love of music added a special touch to the programme.
The tutor said it was his mum who would constantly ask him if he is writing music for the drawers, as he would constantly write but never make his creative works public.
Before performing the song, Gittens explained that his arrangement of Psalm 23 was a dedication to his sister who had overcome cancer. The next selection was a reggae-type version of Psalm 1, followed by Psalm 67 and The King of Love which is a variation of Psalm 23.
The choir sang lustily Man of Sorrow, Love, Bless the Lord (based on Psalm 103), Oh For A Thousand Words, and closed with The Lord Bless You. During the performance, Gittens and the choir paid special tribute to Noel Dexter. The 80-year-old Jamaican was a composer and choir director. He died on August 18.
Soloist Maiella Best sang You Are My Son and even the audience joined in the fun when they were asked to sing Te Dem.
But the highlight of the night was three instrumentals performed by the Saxophone Quartet. The group consisted of legendary David Weatherhead on soprano sax, ace musician Andre Woodvine on alto sax, Shawn Yarde on tenor sax and Roger Jordan on baritone sax.
It was literally music to the ears as they performed: Waltz with Flowers by Tchaikovsky, Spanish Rhapsody by John La Portar and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Quartet 185.
The quartet left one feeling as though the three selections were but an appetiser. It was truly a wonderful evening of sheer musical brilliance. (IMC)