Jess for Jazz provides an inspiring night
Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
It is rare that you find a 20-year-old university student who displays enthusiasm for humanitarianism. It is even rarer still that you find one that is also as talented as Jessica Yap.
Yap hosted her Jess for Jazz concert on the lawns of the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters on Sunday to raise funds and awareness for her Pass It On Scholarship Foundation. The event was a small and intimate affair and made for a delightfully entertaining evening.
The audience was treated to the musical stylings of the Orville Hammond Trio which consisted of pianist and composer Orville Hammond, international bassist Wayne Batchelor, and celebrated Jamaican drummer Desi Jones. The band gave the audience a barrage of jazzy renditions, some composed by Hammond himself.
Hammond, a lecturer, jazz artiste-in-residence and head of the performance division at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, was very enthusiastic about the event and the cause.
The pianist told The Gleaner he was happy to know that he could make a contribution to the foundation through his music.
After seducing the audience with a noteworthy rendition of Stella by Starlight, the talented trio invited Yap onstage for a line-up of awesome collaborations.
The young virtuoso stole the show with her energetic performance as she delivered each note with unbridled passion.
Yap took a break in the middle of her set to thank all who had supported her foundation. This was a long list as the violinist was determined not to leave anyone out.
Long thank-you list
Included in Yap's thank-you speech was Caribbean Airlines, for providing the tickets for Batchelor and his wife to fly in from New York, and The Pegasus and Wyndham hotels, which hosted the couple and the rest of the trio for dinner.
Batchelor, whose family is from Jamaica, told The Gleaner he felt honoured to be part of the cause.
The British bassist explained that he was also a benefactor of scholarships himself, and praised Yap for starting the foundation.
Yap also presented her mother, Rosemary Lee-Yap, with an orchid as a symbol of appreciation for the support she had given her since day one, and the hard work she put into staging the concert.
Lee-Yap said she was not surprised when her daughter approached her about the foundation. According to Lee-Yap, Yap had been helping a fellow student while she was attending Campion, unbeknownst to her. Lee-Yap believes that her daughter is using her talent to play her part in nation building.
The Jessica Yap Pass It On Scholarship Foundation is an initiative by the young altruist to help disadvantaged medical students to finish their degree. These students are then expected to continue the cause once they are able to, promoting a continuous cycle of charitableness.
Yap and her mother agreed that initially it was hard getting support for the foundation, but once supporters saw that the foundation was transparent and that the cause was worthy, they were willing to provide assistance indefinitely.
After all the thank yous, Yap then took centre stage once again to finish her set with instrumental renditions of Jamaican Ska and My Boy Lollipop, showcasing her dazzling prowess on the violin.
Next to join the trio onstage was Italian guitarist, Samuele Vivian.
After performing with the trio, Vivian, who is also a lecturer at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, was then left to his own devices and he serenaded the audience with a captivating performance of his own piece, Mediterranea, from his album of the same name.
The Orville Hammond Trio then closed the show with a three-movement suite, composed by Hammond himself.
The performance swelled to a powerful crescendo before its flourishing finish.