Wed | May 27, 2020

Hague performs 'Jazz for the Ward'

Published:Wednesday | December 31, 1969 | 7:00 PM
The Ward Theatre in Kingston was presented to the city in 1962 by the late Lieut-Colonel James Ward, for many years custos of Kingston. Appearing in the Ward Theatre during its past 50 years have been many world-famed performers. From ballerinas to boxers and visiting royalty have been entertained there. However, decay has set in and the theatre is in urgent need of repair. - File

While the Melody Life album was Myrna Hague's introduction to reggae, jazz has remained her forte. And today she will perform in 'Jazz for the Ward' at the Institute of Jamaica's lecture theatre on East Street, Kingston.

Hague told The Sunday Gleaner that she will be performing with pianist Carol Ball and saxophonist Nicholas LaRoque, doing four songs at the start of the programme and another four at the end. The musicians will also perform as a duo.

"The material we are going to be doing is very simple," Hague said. In a performance with minimal accompaniment, "You choose songs that of themselves have a personality and can stand without a lot of support. You have to choose songs that are within themselves complete.

"The song is a story, the words are clear, the melody line is clear."

However, Hague said that most of the current pop songs would not lend themselves to this format, material written for shows or concert performances being much more suitable. In addition, she said, "Because it is morning you have to be careful of your lyrical content."

She also pointed out that "Jazz offers me an opportunity for improvisation and artistic expression, to explore and experiment."

The Ward Theatre goes back to Hague's childhood, as she said before she left Jamaica her mother would take her there. Then, "When you are growing up in a foreign place you cling to memories of where you come from. The Ward was that kind of icon." In addition, she said on returning to Jamaica one of the first performances she did with the Big Band was at the Ward.

Hague has performed previously to support the Ward Theatre fund-raising effort. "I am very attached to the idea of preserving the Ward as an icon for us," she said.

While in terms of size the Ward does not offer a huge stage, Hague points to a larger impact on the performer. "You have this sense of event being in there because of what it represents. It is a real theatre. You conduct yourself differently. It is not about the size, so much, but the impact of the place. I felt very special performing in the Ward," Hague said.

- M.C.