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Jul 20, 2017

The U.W.I. Chorale to Perform in Belize

The UWI Arts Chorale, the premier choral ensemble of the University of the West Indies Saint Augustine Campus, and the UWI Arts Steel, the premier steel band ensemble, are on a concert tour called “Joyful Two” in Belize. It is a unique pairing of one of the world’s oldest types of ensembles, choir, with the world’s youngest original instrument – the steel pan. Even in Trinidad and Tobago, the birthplace of steel pan, the pairing of the two groups is considered special. The group is being supported by University of Belize and the Anglican Diocese of Belize. News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped by the Bliss today where the ensembles were in rehearsal.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Their music is described as relatively rare –unique – a combination of steel and chorus. They are the UWI Arts Chorale and UWI Arts Steel – combined they have thirty years under their belts. They are from UWI Saint Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago. This week they are on a concert tour in Belize.


Jessel Murray

Jessel Murray, Music Director & Conductor, UWI Arts Chorale & UWI Arts Steel

“The UWI Arts Chorale and the UWI Arts Steel are a unique set of ensembles in Trinidad and Tobago. As in Belize, there is lots of chorales and I know there are some steel orchestras in Belize. Of course, Trinidad and Tobago is the homeland of steel; but the combination of chorus and steel is relatively rare and a wonderful occurrence even within Trinidad and Tobago. Most of these students, there are forty six of them here, most students, some alumni, some community members of much larger set of entities, are coming here as a part of the work that we do in terms of performance. We perform a lot within Trinidad and Tobago; we have done work in the Caribbean; we have done work in North America and now we are hoping to conquer Central America with particular reference to Belize.”


With steel pan and sweet melodies – from spirituals to calypso to pop –the chorale and steel band ensembles cover a number of musical genres – yet maintain their own identity and unique style which they will show off in their concert Joyful Two.


Jessel Murray

“We do something call Joyful Two. Our first act of mostly classical works including a concept mask for steel and chorus which you all will probably have never heard in its form and nowhere else in the world it is done like that. And then in the second act where we are going to do everything from Latin music to a little bit of jazz, definitely calypso and Broadway; both soloists, as well as steel alone, as well as chorale alone a big finale with both together.”


Murray is also conducting workshops as a part of their visit to Belize. Through his contact with U.B., they are hoping to set up a creative and festival arts associate degree program in Belize.


Jessel Murray

“We have been doing educational workshops. We had one that started here yesterday for members of steel. We are doing a chorale and steel workshop on Sunday and next week Tuesday through-out Belize. So, we will not only be doing performance, but our mission is to do things in terms of education, because that is after all at the heart of what we are.   The new President of the University of Belize was up to last year the Principal of UWI, St Augustine. So, he has recruited me, this is on Tuesday morning, to speak to educators and other persons on the possibilities and the methodologies on setting up something as the Creative and Festival Arts associate degree in music and then the greater performing arts as well. So, we have a round table which will happen on Tuesday and we are going to enlist one of the persons who is on our tour who happens to be a curriculum officer of our Ministry of Education.”


Alexander Evans

The group’s big performance is tonight at the Bliss – they will be joined by Belize’s very own Alexander Evans – the first Belizean student enrolled in the Musical Arts programme at UWI, Saint Augustine. Evans will be performing a solo at the event – and his steel band, Pandemonium, will open the show. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


The paid concert at the Bliss kicked off at seven tonight. Another paid show will be held in Belmopan at the University of Belize on July twenty-fifth. Free concerts will be held at the Cayo Welcome Center on July twenty-third and at the B.T.L. Park on July twenty-sixth.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “The U.W.I. Chorale to Perform in Belize”

  1. Crypto Cipher Academy says:

    Really excited to hear that the U.W.I. Chorale to Perform in Belize. Hope it will be full of enjoyment with amazing performance. Won’t miss it.

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