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The sounds of jazz thrilled students of the Princess Elizabeth Special School in Woodbrook, as Trinidadian-born musician Etienne Charles hosted the first of three special outreach concerts, as part of the launch of his latest production entitled, “The San Jose Suite.”

Charles and members of his band fully engaged the students with interactive sessions testing their knowledge of each musical instrument, (electric guitar, keyboard, double bass, trumpet and drums), along with demonstrations on how to play each of them.    The band also rendered jazzy interpretations of some popular songs including: “When The Saints Go Marching In” and ended the concert with, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, John Estrada gave brief remarks, commending the children for their knowledge of the musical instruments, saying he was happy to be there.

In response, the students sang “God Bless Our Nation” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” thanking Charles for his visit.   He was then presented with a token by the school’s Principal, Elizabeth Rollins, who in turn received a token from Charles.

Later, Charles and the band visited the St Dominic’s Home in Belmont where thirty (30) children packed into the Shalom Room. The quintet was equally engaging as they informed the group of children chords, pulse, tempo and rhythm. Etienne Charles also showed his versatility as he played the conga drums and cajon.  The group played Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” as their finale. Several of the students went to their rooms to get their own trumpets, trombones, clarinets to play alongside the San Jose Suite.

At the end of outreach concert, Etienne Charles said, “I’d like to thank all the sponsors present including the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and Republic Bank for making this possible.”    This was followed by the final visit to the St Mary’s Children’s Home in Tacarigua on Friday November 18, 2016.   

The Caribbean Premiere of San Jose Suite took place at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on Sunday November 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm, where Charles and his band performed in a full length concert for members of the public.

The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts was pleased to be a contributor to this initiative, aimed at using music to energize communities.