The announcement that Sir Willard White was to come to Jamaica for Christmas was a big deal, but there is more to the story.
White, the famous bass-baritone, returns to the island's shores this month for a charity performance on behalf of the St Luke's Cure of the Anglican Church.
He will be accompanied by two equally acclaimed musicians - Neal Thornton and Richard Bolton.
The duo has joined forces with him for many a scintillating performance across the world, and will bring their expertise to the concerts dubbed 'An Evening with Willard White: Robeson Re-Explored', slated for the Jamaica College Auditorium on December 28, and the Half Moon Conference Centre on December 30.
Thornton has cemented his place as one of London's finest musicians and teachers of music, and is a regular fixture on the jazz, opera and cabaret scenes. He is known for his crossover-type collaborations, and has, to date, produced three studio albums and three stage shows as a composer and arranger, and has done many tours, appearing in concert alongside Sir Paul McCartney, and numerous notable artistes.
His most recent concert programme with Willard White's - Paul Robeson Re-Explored - has been broadcast by the BBC and performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
album of the material
Thornton also produced an album of the material, The Paul Robeson Legacy (released by Linn Records).
Richard Bolton is also considered one of England's best guitarists, having lent his talents to various types of performances, ranging from opera to jazz, TV, theatre and film. He has toured extensively with the Besht Tellers, Opera Circus and Impropera, and has worked on various productions at the British National Theatre.
On film, he can be heard on the soundtrack to Altman's Gosford Park, and has released three CDs under his own name: the modern jazz-orientated City Life (Babel) by the Richard Bolton Group, and two albums by folk duo Cooper and Bolton, with whom he continues to tour.
Bolton currently holds the position of assistant director of music at the Royal Grammar School, and in collaboration with the equally gifted Thornton, will no doubt heighten the performance experience alongside Sir Willard at the upcoming charity events.
The trio of virtuosos is set to perform a slew of the more popular songs from Robeson's repertoire and will conclude with one of his most recognised renditions to the Jamaican audience.
Sir Willard, who was a founding member of the Jamaican Folk Singers, has to date performed in many of the world's major opera houses and received countless accolades for his works. He possesses a vocal range that is often compared to the legendary Paul Robeson, who was a multilingual African-American singer, actor, and political activist.
As the son of a runaway slave-turned-pastor, Robeson had an affinity for singing Negro spirituals, and was best known for his stirring renditions of that genre.
Robeson visited Jamaica in 1948 and performed for an audience at the then Race Course, now Heroes Park, that was said to be to over 70,000 strong.
Sir Willard will explore the repertoire and life story of this important icon of the last century - a story which is moving and very relevant today.
The net proceeds from the concerts will be used to assist in the outreach programmes of the St Luke's Cure. Through its Cure Concert series, the organisation intends to construct a homeless shelter and a computer and homework centre; erect a sports facility on the St Phillips Church grounds; adopt a family of HIV-infected persons; facilitate continued support of The Glenhope Place of Safety and Nursery, as well as support the weekly feeding of street persons in the Cross Roads area.
'An Evening with Willard White: Robeson Re-Explored' is sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society, Proven Investments Limited, Half Moon Hotel, Spanish Court Hotel, Jamaica Tours Limited and Blueprint Consulting.