Sat | Jun 23, 2018

Willard White heads back to Jamaica for charity

Published:Thursday | November 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM
A Samuel Atkins photo of Sir Willard White performing 'Christmas Presence 2004'. - Contributed
Paul Robeson - Contributed

World-famous bass baritone Sir Willard White is scheduled to perform the music of Paul Robeson in Jamaica this Christmas season as part of a joint fund-raising effort by the St Luke's Cure and Music Unites Jamaica Foundation.

The concerts, slated for December 28 at the Jamaica College Auditorium and December 30 at the Half Moon Conference Centre, promise to electrify fans of classical music while simultaneously providing well-needed funds for various charities.

The multi-award-winning singer was born in Jamaica where he commenced his musical training at the Jamaica School of Music, and was a founding member of the Jamaica Folk Singers. He also sang with the Jamaica Amateur Operatic Society before going on to The Juilliard School in New York, where he continued his studies under the tutelage of distinguished bass, Giorgio Tozzi.

White has since amassed a wealth of merit since his debut with the New York City Opera, having lent his impressive vocals to many acclaimed theatre and movie performances. He has also performed regularly at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, New York, the English National Opera, San Francisco, and several other celebrated opera houses worldwide, namely Munich, Berlin, St Petersburg, Madrid and Paris, as well as at the Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence and Salzburg Festivals.

Henry Reid, speaking on behalf of the St Luke's Cure, said the organisation was eagerly anticipating the performances while imploring Corporate Jamaica to support the charities by sponsoring the event.

Reid went on to explain that "the St Luke's Cure supports programmes such as feeding the homeless, providing medication and shelter, as well as homework centres for kids. This initiative needs the support of Corporate Jamaica and the wider public to make it a success, and we will be going all out with our promotions to ensure that sponsors are given the amount of mileage which will justify their involvement."

Winston Ewart, chairman of Music Unites Jamaica Foundation, for which Sir Willard White is patron, is also happy about the event.

"Our patron had promised to perform the music of Paul Robeson as a fund-raiser for us, and I think the year of 'Jamaica 50' is an opportune time for this. The proceeds of the concert will be used to fund the establishment of the Samuel Felsted music archives and provide funding for music scholarships," he shared.

The Music Unites Jamaica Foundation is a non-governmental organisation established in 2009 by Rosina Christina Moder, founder of RCM Music.

Local event planning and PR firm Blueprint Consulting has joined forces with the organisers to drive the sponsorship solicitation, marketing and overall planning of the concerts.

Blueprint's managing director, Deane Shepherd, is optimistic about the prospects as he believes the concerts represent a solid opportunity for the sponsors, given the guaranteed attention from the wider public.

"Sponsors always want to know that they are supporting a winner. Sir Willard White's performances have been sold out all over the world, and we anticipate that Jamaica will be no different, as Jamaicans have a fine appreciation for various musical genres," said Shepherd.