Tue | Apr 25, 2017

Rhoden to launch Mother's Day Festival at Devon House

Published:Wednesday | May 6, 2015 | 5:00 AM
Orrett Rhoden

The ebullient Jamaican ambassador for classical concert, pianist and artistic director of The Rhoden International Music Festival of Jamaica, Orrett Rhoden, CD, is set to launch his festival greeting cards, postcards and bookmarkers on Mother's Day, May 10, at Devon House, starting at 10 a.m.

Proceeds are in aid of his many festival projects, and Rhoden will be present to sign and to greet well-wishers during the course of the day. The postcards will also go on sale in hotels and pharmacies across the island.

One of his most ambitious projects is to raise funds to construct Jamaica's first opera house and centre for the performing arts in Kingston. Undoubtedly, to fund such a huge project will take time, but Rhoden feels the time is well overdue and one has to start somewhere. These performing arts centres will assure audiences of maximum entertainment value and internationally acclaimed performing artists of the best venues.

musical cross-pollination

Also in the mix for Rhoden is a trip to Georgia (of the former USSR) later this summer. He goes under the invitation of the Russian mega pop singer, Valery Meladze, who eagerly anticipates appearing at the Rhoden International Music Festival of Jamaica later this year.

The Rhoden Festival seeks to merge all kinds of influences from around the world by inviting top international musicians like Valery Maladze to perform in Jamaica, as he feels that cross-pollinating or fusing as much of the world's different genres of music, is indeed the way forward not only for Jamaica but for the rest of the world.

Statistics reveal that 10 per cent of the world's population consists of classical music lovers. Additionally, research shows that classical music lovers are highly educated and earn a high income. Thus, the Rhoden Festival seeks to attract these music lovers during their cold winter months to visit Jamaica, where they would experience performances by some of the world's great classical and jazz music artists. The festival undoubtedly, cites the success of both Singapore and Hong Kong with economically vibrant tourist-geared festival concerts. Glimpses of such benefits to Jamaica are already evident from the inaugural Rhoden Festival in 2012.

Rhoden, under the leadership of former prime minister Edward Seaga, was invited to appear before Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh at Devon House in Kingston in 1983. Shortly after, Rhoden made his official London debut, appearing as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in London at the age of 23. This was to be followed by a memorable New York solo debut at Carnegie Hall and two well-talked-about appearances in Hollywood on FOX's Late Night Starring Joan Rivers hosted by the late Joan Rivers, which was watched by millions of Americans.

The next festival begins this November and runs from the last week of each month through to February 2016. Concerts will take place in Kingston, Port Royal, Ocho Rios and Westmoreland.