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One of the original members of the Lydian Singers, Glenis excels as a soloist. Her singing career began in church at age six and she regards religion as the foundation of all she has accomplished. She has also sung in parang groups, folk groups for 'Best Village' and was once the calypso queen at Bishop Anstey High School.
Credible performances at music festivals as a soloist, member of ensembles and choirs since 1972 have won her numerous prizes. One of most memorable years though, was 1990 when successes included North winner in soprano, ladies oratorio and ladies operatic aria classes and winner at championship level of the mixed duet and operatic aria classes.
Glenis has studied music theory up to grade two and played the mandolin for two years. She now aspires to play the organ one day. Her music teachers were Joyce Spence, Anne Marie Osborne, Pat Bishop and Glen Worrell. Glenis has played four major roles as a part of The Lydian's three major Operas. Along with Joanne Pyle, she has shared the roles of Palmyra from the opera 'Koanga' by Delius, Turandot in the opera of the same name by Puccini, Adina from the opera, 'L'Elisir D'Amore and also the role of Euridice, from the opers 'Orpheus and Euridice' by C.W. Gluck in September of 2005.'
Glenis is a graduate of Valsayn Teachers College and UWI with a double major in Literature in English and Linguistics. She teaches English and Science at Maple Leaf International School, runs a choir there and guides its promising singers in their musical careers.
She regards her membership of The Lydian Singers as a wonderful opportunity for personal fulfillment and community service.
Joanne sings with two choirs, Tranquillity Methodist (her church choir) and the Lydians. She greatly treasures her participation in the 1990 musical festival as part of a Lydian group of soloists who called themselves 'The Motley Crew' and won in several classes.
However, she was most challenged by solo work she undertook for the 1994 Lydian Ladies Concert when her dramatic soprano voice thrilled audiences with works inclusive of 'Ritorna Vincitor' from Verdi's Aida, Bach's 'Bist du Bei Mir', Bizet's 'Agnus Dei' and the Negro spiritual 'Were You There'.
The role of Turandot is her most challenging to date, more difficult in her estimation than lead roles in two previous operas - 'Koanga' and 'L'Elisir d'Amore'. Joanne recently shared the title role with Glenis as Euridice in the opera 'Orpheus and Euridice' by C.W. Gluck in September, 2005. She is grateful to Clarence Simmons organist at Tranquillity Methodist Church for voice training but her role model remains Pat Bishop to whom she remains eternally grateful for development of her voice and affording her exposure.
Joanne is a manager at Signature 2000, and in her spare time she enjoys cooking. Participation in the choir provides her with a refuge from the frustrations and pain of everyday life and she also finds it an ongoing learning experience.
Lydians shared Germaine's joy at the 1999 music festival when she won the Edric Connor Memorial Trophy for Best Folk Song Solo. Lydians equally looked forward to her successful debut performance as a lead singer in the grand opera - Liu in 'Turandot'.
This singer particularly likes powerful music, whether it is gospel, inspirational, classical, jazz or rhythm and blues. It follows that an emotional connection with her audience is essential to put over a song with conviction. Germaine has mastered pieces such as 'Queen of the night in Die Zauberflöte' and the 'Doll Song'. A true Coloratura-soprano but very versatile, Germaine is also an accomplished pannist and plans to learn the guitar and piano as well.
She has acheived several trophies and accomplishments in the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival, including the havelock Nelson Cup for Ladies Operatic Aria, and a shared trophy (The Subscriber's Cup) with tenor Garnet Allen for the mixed vocal duet category. She was also awarded the Chesteron Ali Memorial trophy for her excellent performance in the Voval recital Class, the Dr. Dorrel Philip Trophy- sharing the title of winner in the Broadway class along with three other of her Lydian choristers and the title of Most Outstanding Performer and the May Johnstone Commemoration Shield. Music teachers credited include Pat Bishop, Enrique Ali and Joycelyn Sealy. She has also been strongly influenced musically by Pat Bishop, Ella Andall, David Rudder and two fellow Lydian soloists - Eddie Cumberbatch and Joanne Pyle.
When she was seventeen, Miriam sang a rhythm and blues number to open a Special Olympics Games. She was later advised to enter the 1997 music festival in order to develop an ability to sing other kinds of music, and to join a choir. To her surpise, she won the operatic aria class just two weeks after joining the Lydian Singers. In 1999, she won the North mixed duet class at music festival and performed the role of 'Liu' in Lydian Singers production of Turandot in 1999.
A capacity to sing jazz has led her to sing with Raf Robertson and Pamberi Steel. In addition, her classical jazz version of 'Summertime', sung at the Rex Grenadian Hotel in May 1999, was very well received by the audience.
Whitney Houston, Leontyne Pryce, Jessie Norman and Rachel Farrel are among her favourite singers, and through Pat Bishop and the Lydians, she continues to learn a great deal which will serve her for life.
How long have you been singing?
D-M N – I always sang, or at least, I always enjoyed singing. I sang in my primary school choir, secondary school choir, church. But as Pat Whittle loves to point out, I couldn't really sing before Lydians. So I guess instead of saying that I sang all my life I would say that I always enjoyed singing.
How long have you been a Lydian?
DMN - I joined the Lydians in September 1996. At that time the choir was preparing for the opera L'Elisir D'Amore. At that time I had just entered Bishop Anstey as a Form Six student from North Eastern College.
Where else do you sing?
D-M N - For the most part just Lydians
What big roles have you done before?
D-M N None really
What solo work have you enjoyed?
D-M N - The Rock Nativity (Mary), The Alto Rhapsody ( I enjoyed being the lone female in the men's concert- Four Sundays in July 1998), The Sea Picture by Elgar - Ladies Concert 1998. There were other solos here and there but they were neither here nor there. To be honest I prefer singing as a part of a duet, trio or small ensemble than doing solo work
What do you do in real life?
D-M N - That's a good question. I'm an attorney, and for now, I work in the Legislative Drafting Department of the Office of the Attorney General.
What real life demands do you have?
D-M N - None really. My biggest challenge is to constantly find new ways to entertain myself.
How do you fit Lydians in a busy life?
D-M N - What busy life? But seriously though, I often tell people that I need distractions. At school, I would focus on school work best when I knew that I had a million other things to do and therefore didn’t have any time to come back to it later. If I don’t constantly have something new and interesting to do I get bored and would procrastinate. Lydians sometimes provides that new and interesting "thing" for me to do. So I guess that Lydians doesn’t prevent me from doing other things but helps me to do them better
What are you looking forward to in a singing career?
D-M N - I'm not nearly good enough to talk about a singing career. A hobby at most. I'm just grateful for the opportunity that Pat and the Lydians afford me, to try.
What life dreams do you have?
D-M N - Wow! If you asked me this question a year ago I would have given you a very confident answer but right now the best that I can say is that I’m keeping my options open. Whatever I do though I hope it affords me the opportunity to travel extensively
Any thing you’d like to add about Orpheus & Euridice & Amor? D-M N - I heard that I might be singing in the same cast with Joanne Pyle and Michael Zephyrine. While this means singing with two first class singers (so I need to give it my best), it also means working with two people who are supportive and willing to share what they know.
Interview with Barbara Jenkins
Leanna Roper who performed as ‘A Blessed Spirit’ in the recent Lydian production of Orpheus and Euridice, is a relatively new Lydian, having joined along with her mother, Laura, just over a year ago. She has been singing all of her life and she sings regularly with her church choir at Our Lady of Lourdes, Maraval, where she is a soloist.
With the Lydians, Leanna immediately stepped into the limelight in the Monteverdi Vespers in September as a second soprano soloist. This was quickly followed by a lead part in the Christmas concert Parang segment and an operatic solo in the Ladies’ Concert in June.
All this activity of performance and rehearsal did not distract Leanna from her ‘real life’ – that of a final-year A-Level student at St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain. As she says ‘It was quite difficult adjusting at first with the late school nights and so forth, but I realized that I could easily make a little more room for something that I enjoy so much. I simply like the idea of being able to improve my voice under the tutelage of experienced musicians.’
Leanna plans to continue singing with the Lydians and take a year off after school. She hopes to continue her studies as an undergraduate at UWI St Augustine, reading Business Studies and ultimately owning and running her own business, while raising a family – and of course - singing her way through it all.
Pat takes no chances with family life. Daughter Titian is a valued contralto despite her youth and son Sunil, a spectacular baritone, performs the role of the quark's assistant in the production.
All three thus tread the boards together - no doubt, to the delight of Garvin long-suffering husband and father.
From 'Koanga' The Programme
(Profile Coming soon)
Nicole made her debut as an opera soloist as Amor in the most recent production by the Lydians 'Orpheus and Euridice' by C.W. Gluck. She joined the choir as one of the ‘little ones’ who played child monks in Turandot, the Lydians twentieth anniversary opera production.
As long as she can remember, Nicole has been singing – with the choir at St. Francis Church, Belmont, with the Love Movement, and as a solo entertainer at events. In the fantasies of her childhood dreams she saw herself on Broadway, ‘but I never knew I could have the chance of training my voice until I joined Lydians and Auntie Pat began to teach me how to sing’.
And how she has thrived under Pat’s tutelage! Nicole and Garnet Allen won the mixed duet class in Port of Spain at the past two Music Festivals and she sees Amor as her chance to prove she can do more solo work with the choir.
Now a Business Management undergraduate at ROYTEC, this young lady declares that, although she is really enjoying the course, this is just a first degree. Ultimately she would like to be in Public Relations or Mass Communications as ‘I love people; I love being with people, talking to them’.
And how does she fit choir practice and voice training into a young person’s social life and a demanding study programme? ‘ I put singing first. Everything else in my life has to fit around that’.
(Profile Coming Soon)
Jenny is to the Contraltos what Glenis is to the Sopranos. A redoubtable and much beloved "Miss" to successive generations of children at the Morvant Anglican School! Jenny brings the same dedication to her children that she brings to Lydian Music.
In the opera 'Koanga' by Delius, Jenny played the role of Clotilda, wife of Don Jose Martinez. She also continuous to soothe audiences by her rendition of 'Red and Green Christmas' a piece written exclusively for the Lydian Singers.
(Profile Coming Soon)
(Profile Coming Soon)
(Profile Coming Soon)
"Singing and performing is side of my personality and my life that I have left in its natural state-- spontaneous, fun and unpredictable." Singing 'for fun' is a philosophy that Janine Charles-Farray has stuck to religiously for the last 20 years of her life.
A long time lover of the 'soulful classics,' Janine Charles-Farray began singing in Primary school under the baton of Mrs. Charles of the St. Finbar's Girls RC School. Her love of singing grew during this period through experimentation with the popular music of the day such as R&B and Pop, as well as the classics of vintage ballads and religious music taught by her primary school music teacher.
She developed a love for standard R&B and Soul favourites of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin all the way into secondary school at Bishop Anstey High School. Her musical journey continued where she sang in the choir environment for her entire school life, developing her voice under musical directors Ms. Baccus-Iffil and Ms Granderson. In secondary school, Janine began entering the Music Festival expanding her range as a Contralto voice.
In life outside of school, Janine enjoyed playing steelpan, cuatro and African drums at her Church along with acting in plays with her Church youth group.
A member of the Lydians for over ten (10) years, Janine has entered and won the Contralto class three times in a row, also winning the Ladies vocal recital class in the North category for the first time recently. She continues to sing with the choir to date. Admitting an eclectic taste in music, Janine enjoys listening to many genres ranging from Parang, Calypso, Soca, Rock, Classical, Soul, Jazz and Hip Hop. And, she also lists Jill Scott, Nina Simone and Ella Andal among the main influences of her performing style.
She has also sung across many genres including funk, rock, classical, calypso, negro-spirituals and gospel to name a few. Her musical aspirations include, writing and performing a soca and parang selection some time in the near future!
Patrice is a Lydian of 25 years standing - a founder member. For her, these have been years of learning, music appreciation and personal growth. She has enjoyed the tremendous sense of accomplishment on completion of difficult works, but she cites other benefits that Lydians should treasure.
Among these are the emotional support of which members are assured in times of personal crisis, the day to day networking and sharing - from recipes to tax and banking advice. She also deeply appreciates the laughter and fun, the wit and good humour that abound and that involve both the Musical Director and the Manager.
Patrice has played the role of Aurore in the opera 'Koanga' by Delius.
Garnet is from 'South'. While at Presentation College, he sang with both the Junior and Senior choirs under music teacher Ms. Cynthia Lee Mack. He also sang with the 'Prescon Alumni Choir', the 7.00 a.m. Lady of Perpetual Help, San Fernando and 'Belvedere', before joining the Lydians in 1998.
Under Pat Bishop's direction, and as a Lydian, Garnet emerged winner at the 1999 music festival in two categories - the Mixed Duet Class and Best Male Choir. Also in 2004, Garnet topped the competition to emerge winner in the Baritone solo category in the North region.
He attained further music festival successes in the recent 2008 music festival winning the Bass Solo-Open in the North zone with "Myself When Young" from L. Lehmannsharing. He also shared a trophy (The Subscriber's Cup) in the music festival championships with Soprano Germaine Wilson for the mixed vocal duet category. He was also awarded the Dr. Dorrel Philip Trophy- sharing the title of winner in the Broadway class along with three other of his Lydian choristers.
Garnet likes all kinds of music but felt challenged by his solo role as 'Pang' in the opera 'Turnadot'. Garnet admitted pushing himself to give the best performance possible, so that audiences, large or small, would feel gladdened by listening to his efforts.
As a young boy, André sounded just like Michael Jackson whom he admired. However, as he grew into adulthood, his admiration switched to Placido Domingo. André started singing at Rosary Boys R.C. School at age seven, joined the Santa Cruz R.C. Church Choir as a teenager and the Lydian Singers under the direction of Mrs. Alma Pierre during the 1984-1987 period. He is grateful to both Ms. Pierre and Pat Bishop for tutorship in voice.
With the Lydians he has found himself in winner's row as a chorister and member of ensembles. In 1987 he emerged champion tenor in Trinidad and Tobago at the music festival. He has also sung with the Lydians in Barbados in 1997. The role of 'Calaf' in the opera 'Turnadot' was his first major role in an opera.
André's musical preferences are rhythm and blues, jazz and gospel. André also finds time for contrasting hobbies including cricket, nature, a good house lime and fast cars.
(Profile Coming Soon)
Gary is excited about performing the role of Altoum, Turandot's father in the opera, Turandot. He has been singing with church choirs from the age of ten but prefers the musical genres of opera, folk, calypso and Negro spirituals.
His adult musical experiences have included membership of 'Chanteurs Immortelle' Director of the Port of Spain Choir and becoming a Lydian, whose director, Pat Bishop, is his most profound musical influence.
He greatly treasures the three-year period spent working with the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service Officers Choir as its Director. Gary loves cooking but also finds time to care for the elderly, counsel the young and participate in the martial arts of aikido and judo.
Achievement of Grade VII in music and pursuit of a degree in that area are two of Andy's goals. He achieved Grade IV practical (voice) and Grade II theory, tutored by Naariman Hosein. He started signing in a church choir (St. Paul's R.C. Couva) at the age of thirteen and became the director of that choir.
An extremely rewarding experience for Andy was singing 'The Waltz Chorus' by Faust with the Southernaires Choir accompanied by Hydro Agri Skiffle Bunch. He also sang in Miami with the St. Paul's R.C. Church Choir. At the Trinidad & Tobago Music Festival, 1995 was quite a successful year for him as he placed first in South with his operatic aria rendition and second in three classes - tenor, baritone and male duet.
Joining the Lydians Singers in 1998, he was gratified about his selection as 'Pong' in the opera 'Turandot.' He expressed his admiration of Pat Bishop's ability to command steelbands, choirs and opera casts with such great authority.
Essentially an excellent keyboard musician, Sheldon also sings very well. He started playing the piano at age five, beginning formal piano lessons at age eleven. Playing music in church with a score enhanced an aural awareness of music. Academically, he has achieved A.T.C.L. and L.T.P.C.L. in piano performance and plans to work towards further diplomas.
His music teachers were M. Nimblett and Lindy-Ann Bodden-Ritch. He himself is now a music teacher. As a singer, he has contributed to the success of the Lydian male choir in being adjudged Most Outstanding Adult Choir. He has toured with the Lydian Singers, but his most treasured musical experience is a 1996 recital at St. Thomas Anglican Church.
Sheldon is also musically associated with the St. Thomas Anglican Church choir and the Montrose Government School. In addition, he directs his own children's choir - The Young Musicians.
(Profile coming Soon)
Randal says solemnly, "God plans my life and my singing", and adds that he wants to sing for as long as God gives him life. Having joined the Lydian community in 1987, his strong baritone voice has enhanced the group's efforts in solo, ensemble and choral work. As a member of the Lydians he has toured Panama, Barbados, Grenada and St. Vincent. Assistant Director of the 'Spice Isle Youth Quake' group of his native isle of Grenada, he has toured England, Scotland and Ireland.
His strongest musical influences have been Ms. Lauren Ramdhammy of Grenada, Mr. Clarence Simmonds, organist at Tranquillity Methodist Church where he also sang, and of course Pat Bishop. Ms Bishop coached him to sing the part of Dr. Dulcamara, the confidence trickster in 'L'Elisir d'Amore', and that performance is his most treasured musical experience. However, Randal found his role as Koanga, in the opera of the same name, his most challenging to date.
Anyone who knows Celestine is aware of his mischievous qualities. However, he is serious about his music and has received vocal training from Mr. Enrique Ali and Dr. Pat Bishop as well.
As a member of the 'Diamond Chorale', Celestine credits its leader, the late Chesterton Ali, as being his greatest musical influence. With the Lydians since 1995, he visited Barbados in 1997, performing the role of 'Pete' in the opera 'Koanga'. At the 1999 festival, Celestine was a proud member of the Lydian male choir adjudged Best Adult Choir, the Lydian male quartet - first in the north zone finals; and Diamond Chorale, the Most Outstanding Choir at the festival that year.
A lover of classical music and Negro spirituals he was delighted to play the role of 'Pang' with whom he easily identifies. An enduring memory for Celestine is learning the Hebrew chant, 'Kiddish', and being privileged to sing it at a recent funeral service.
Celestine Joseph followed his outstanding winning performance at the 2002 T&T music festival by winning 3 trophies at the 78th Leicester music festival in England. He won the male voice class, for which he was awarded the A.D. Carmichael silver cup, with the test piece for bass/baritone, ‘the ballad of semmerwater’ by A. Gibbs. In the British composers class her won the Louise Martin Memorial cup for his performance of his own choice, ‘the vagabond’ from ‘the songs of travel by Vaughn Williams.
Still, there was more to come form this extremely talented singer. In the category of ‘songs from the shows’ he performed ‘Stars’ from the musical ‘Les Miserable’, coming second out of 21 performers. Just like the saying ‘save the best for last’, Celestine certainly did. With his entry for the Operatic male voice class, his rendition of ‘It ain’t necessarily so’ from the Gershwin musical ‘Porgy and Bess’, once again impressed the judges. The adjudicator, who awarded the highest honour of distinction, was quoted as saying, ‘I will not be surprised if next time I see Celestine it is not on the West End stage. We have here a truly talented singer.’
For those of you who can remember the 2002 T&T music festival, Celestine won the Bass solo, Folk song solo, Baritone solo, Oratorio Gents voice solo classes as well as being part of the winning Lydian Operatic Ensemble. At Championship he was awarded the Lorna Myers shield for ‘outstanding performer in at least 10 categories with at least 85 points’, the Mavis Johnson shield for ‘most outstanding performer in the whole festival’, the Rochford cup for being in the ‘best Operatic ensemble’ and the Edric Connor cup for his outstanding performance of ‘The Stuttering Pastor’ and ‘Murder in de Market’. We would like to congratulate Celestine and wish him all the best in the future.
Orlando looked forward to the challenge of his role as Timur, the dethroned King of Tartary. He saw it as opportunity to share his talents with other Lydians and with his audiences.
As a member of the Lydian Singers from 1988, he travelled with the group to Barbados and Grenada. Orlando had also enjoyed successes in the 1990 Music Festival as winner in mixed voice quartet, male voice duet classes and as third place winner in the baritone and bass solo classes.
His most treasured musical experience was performing the role of 'Koanga', in the opera of the same name. However, he was most challenged by having to learn Rossini's Stabat Mater.
He did not favour any particular genre of music. However, being a practising Roman Catholic, his spirit was energized whenever he sang any of the Latin Masses in the Lydian repertoire. Orlando was also a member of The Mawasi Experience as a lead singer under the leadership of Mr. Peter Telfer.
This energetic performer is accustomed to acting while singing, in an effort to interpret the music as best he can, so that audiences can appreciate he essence of the music. He also conducts the Lydians from time to time and would like to lean this art properly, to read music and to nurture his musical ear.
His long association with the Lydian Singers started during the choir's early years when Joyce Spence was first director (1979 10 1982). He returned to the flock in 1997 and toured Barbados and Grenada with the Lydians. In the interim, he sang with 'Belvedere and Family' and friends. Benedict also sings with the Diamond Chorale.
Listening to his father, Felix, singing in the bath influenced Patrick's love of singing. Several other people have also influenced his musical development - the late Gerard David of the Arima Boys R.C. School choir, Fr. Patrick Brennan, former music tutor of Fatima Secondary School choir, Myrtle Sammy and Trevor Dawn of the UWI folk and parang choirs respectively, and Pat Bishop Director of the Lydian Singers. His musical achievements include: success at Grade IV Trinity School of Music Theory and Practice, playing the challenging role of 'Dr. Jose Martinez, a planter' in the Lydian production of 'Koanga' by Delius and successful participation in music festivals as a Lydian from 1986. His most recent success was at this year's music festival (2004) as a member of the Lydian male quartet, which won the north zone finals and the Lydian Male Choir, adjudged Best Adult Choir nationally.