Wed | Aug 5, 2020

The Music of NDTC: a treat of excellence

Published:Saturday | December 7, 2019 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
NDTC Singers.
Soloist Joshua Page.
NDTC in performance.

Sustainable applause greeted the performers at the end of the National Dance Theatre Company production, The Music of the NDTC 2019, on Wednesday at The Little Theatre.

Monoleto and Joyce Hutchinson were among the audience. For them, the concert was “absolutely beautiful”. Speaking in a distinct British accent, the residents of Albion, St Thomas, enjoyed the singing and dancing, so much so that Joyce wanted to get up and dance.

“It covers most of the different music genres that we are accustomed to in Jamaica.” Moneleto said. Joyce was disappointed that the show was held for one night only, as she would have liked to take her children to see it.

At the helm of “absolute beauty” were the NDTC singers and musicians, as well as artistic director Marlon Simms, acting musical director Dr Kathy Brown, and music captain Conrod Hall. Together they produced what was tantamount to a well-written musical essay, which they presented on stage at the Tom Redcam Drive-based iconic theatre.

The Heston Boothe and Hall-arranged Donkey’s Tale (2018) began the show. The medley of folk songs about donkeys included the familiar Hold Him Joe. Boasting individual microphones, the singers, wearing costumes made from bandanna, articulated the nuances of donkeys with clarity and humour.

Changing into a militant costume, the singers returned to deliver songs in reggae. The first was their entertaining Journey, arranged by Brown, which premiered this year.

And the reggae genre continued with soloist Toni Barrett’s rendition of Jimmy Cliff’s I Can See Clearly Now. While soloist Joshua Page commenced the gospel section with a passionate rendition of Travis Greene’s You Made A Way. The song was also arranged by Brown.

Classical flavour

Faith Livingstone and Dawn Fuller Philips added classical flavour with Pietro Yon’s Gesu Bambino and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu, respectively. Homage to Noel Dexter was presented in Dexter Christmas Medley, which included the popular Jesus is Born.

The inclusion of a steel pan with the singers standing in the formation of a cross was unforgettable. So, too, was the ending of The Music of the NDTC 2019, with the dance Kumina, choreographed by Rex Nettlford. The classic performance brought together the three performing arms of the NDTC: singers, musicians and dancers. The principal roles were nicely danced by Simms (King) and Keita-Marie Chamberlain Clarke (Queen).

The dance’s effectively designed backdrop, colourful costumes, props, well-timed entrances and exits, and wonderful singing, produced a spectacular ending to the show. The only flaw was the young dancers who, though clinical in executing the authentic movements, seemed not to have fully grasped the spiritual element of the cultural form.

But it was commendation to the sound engineer for the excellent balance between the vocalists and the other instruments throughout the concert. This was more evident in the closing piece.