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Calabar hosts 'Evening of Musical Excellence'

Published:Thursday | April 5, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Members of the 2009 Calabar High School Choir in performance. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

On Sunday, April 22, Calabar High School celebrates its fourth annual Evening of Musical Excellence at the Red Hills Road school's chapel.

Morris Ellington, music teacher at Calabar, outlined a roster of performers which includes a number of choirs, including the Calabar High School Choir and Drummers, the Jamaica Constabulary Choir, Westwood High School Choir, Oberlin High School Choir and Nexus. The Jamaica Young People Symphony Orchestra and horn player Mickey Hanson, who attended Calabar, are on the line-up as well, with Dervan Malcolm hosting the evening.

"This year, it is part of the centenary celebration," Ellington said.

Major events

The concert is one of two major events the Calabar choir performs at their home base annually, the other being a carol service during the last week of school in December. Plus, Ellington said, the choir receives numerous invitations to perform at various places. In addition to a number of Baptist churches, they have also performed at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Kingston Public and Bellevue hospitals, at the Wyndham Hotel's Christmas Tree-lighting Ceremony, the Terra Nova Hotel and the unveiling of Herb McKenley's statue at the National Stadium.

The choir has also entered the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's annual music competition, as well as the televised 'All Together Sing'.

Behind the 30-strong choir at its full complement is a committee chaired by Everton Foster, with Sonia Morgan as vice-chair.

"They stand as a support group for the choir. They see to the welfare of the choir. If we need to go somewhere, they help us organise ourselves and get what is necessary," Ellington said, giving the example of the unit needing to get robes. For that, the committee was integral to the design and funding.

Ellington names overseas-based Calabar Old Boy Kenneth McCalla as an old boy who strongly supports the choir.

Although there are about 30 young men on the Calabar choir, Ellington points out that "it is not at every event we are able to get the full complement". The repertoire pulls from various genres, including classical, folk, religious, reggae and patriotic material. For the Evening of Musical Excellence, Ellington said, "we will focus on classical and gospel music".