The works of Jamaican composers across several musical genres will be featured in the 2012 concert season of the Diocesan Festival Choir as the highly acclaimed performing group celebrates Jamaica's rich musical heritage.
The season, with the theme 'From Felsted to Marley - Jamaica 50', will be launched with a gala concert at St Margaret's Anglican Church, Liguanea on, Sunday, October 7, at 5 p.m.
The feast of music by the country's longest-serving choir continues with a second performance at the Spanish Town Cathedral on Sunday, October 21, at 4 p.m.
The featured work at both performances will be the oratorio Jonah, written in 1775 by Samuel Felsted, who was, at the time, the organist at the St Andrew Parish Church. Based on the biblical story of the prophet Jonah, the oratorio is recognised in classical music circles as the first complete work of its kind to be performed in the New World.
Selected pieces to be sung by the Diocesan Festival Choir will include Chorus of the Ninevites; Recitativo: God Saw the Works; and the Grand Chorus: Tune Your Harp.
Noel Dexter, Beryl Donaldson, Olive Lewin, Peter Tosh, and Bob Marley are among other noted composers whose music will be showcased at the concert. Special selections will also be presented by the St Luke's Church Sign Language Ministry. The concerts are being presented under the distinguished patronage of the Rt. Rev Howard Gregory, Anglican bishop of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands, and Mrs Gregory.
Classical and church
The Diocesan Festival Choir, established in 1925, has been in the vanguard of classical and church music presentations throughout its 87 years, performing at worship services, concerts, civic, and national events. It has also done concert tours in The Cayman Islands and Barbados.
The ensemble, which comprises just over 40 members, includes several of Jamaica's most outstanding singers who also perform with other groups such as the National Chorale, the National Dance Theatre Company Singers, the Jamaican Folk Singers, and the Portmore Chorale.
Described as "a Jamaican institution dedicated to God's glory," the Diocesan Festival Choir has established a strong tradition of excellence, promoting choral music as an art form.
Although the choir operates under the auspices of the Anglican Church, its membership includes a cross section of the Christian community. It has a rich repertoire of classical and religious music, and the 2012 concert season will provide yet another opportunity to showcase its versatility.
The choir will perform under the baton of Michael Sutherland, who has served as conductor since 2005. The accompanist is Ann Trouth, herself a noted musician and choir director.