Music brings people together. This is the premise that has pushed the minds and creativity of musicians since its early beginnings.
On this particular Friday night, in my quest for the art of music, I entered St. Peters Anglican Church where the tuning of violins, violas and a number of other instruments was taking place.
In the walls of the acoustically magnificent church, Javacya Arts Conservatory members presented their spring repertoire.
The youth orchestra opened the show with Appogiatura’s arrangement of the Negro spiritual “Were You There.” I presume the selection was a prelude to the Easter season, which to most Christian based faiths is referred to as Resurrection Sunday.
The piece displayed the advanced level of musicianship being taught at the conservatory. The selection was not one of ease even for the listener.
Dissonance filled the chords to demonstrate the agony felt by those who witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion. That’s the unpleasant sound of two notes that clash or don’t create harmony or a unified sound.
I must be honest; the work could use a bit more refinement. There were some shaky moments where it seemed as if a particular section was not as fine-tuned as others and echoed through the hall.
Despite the mess-ups that do happen in every musical program, Javacya definitely impressed.
Three young instrumentalist; Phillip Bond, Kalon Wiliams, and Kenneth Hills, each playing a different role in classical music god Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A minor, showed the skill and training these young people receive in this Conservatory.
You probably didn’t know musicians literally “play roles”; that is truly the artistry of Vivaldi. In this particular concerto, they played Allegro (Phillip Bond), Largo (Kalon Williams) and Vivace (Kenneth Hills).
The irony is each character is a musical term. This terminology is a musician’s indicator on the piece’s tone and speed. Allegro Is a brisk tempo, while largo is a slow and dignified and vivace is lively and brisk.
You should take a listen to Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” where he gives life to spring, winter, summer and fall. Musical personification is what Vivaldi is known for.
Regardless of the composer’s genius, these young musicians handled these parts with ease, with the occasional mess-up or shrieking note in the effort to keep the musical phrase moving.
Remember these are lines just like an actor would deliver but on a musical instrument. Making it that much more intense.
Later in the program after a 10-minute intermission that seemed like forever because I was eager to hear what was next, FAMUs own Althea Kilgore performed “Kyrie- Agnus Dei from Mass in G” by Franz Schubert.
The soprano soared and we did as well as the acoustics took us over the moon with her refined vibrato and squillo (resonate operatic sound).
One could be fooled by her small physique that that much power could not come from such a small statured woman. They would have been proven wrong that night.
Many musical selections followed; “Variations of I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin and “Wave of Sound” by FAMU grad Lililita Forbes.
It was all wonderful, and I left encouraged. Why? Most of these young orchestral musicians in training were African American young men and women.
The conservatory’s leader Patricia Floyd raved about how they could be somewhere else but they are playing music and learning work ethic and discipline.
Not only are they in music but they are learning the foundation of music, not just what they hear on the radio that is doctored and computerized.
I am confident from this concert that these young musicians will change the face of music.