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A tribute to the King of pop
June may have been the month that the world collectively remembered the remarkable, undisputed king of pop—Michael Jackson, who unfortunately passed away on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50. But on December 11, The T&T Philharmonic (TTYP) and The Euangelion Singers and Band, demonstrated that Jackson’s music and his memory lived on, during the St Augustine Chamber Orchestra’s (SACO) final tenth anniversary celebration.
Bringing the King’s music to life in fine style, they presented a memorable and delightful evening, honouring the magic Jackson brought to music over a near five decades. Dubbed Never Can Say Goodbye, the three and a half hour-long concert, held at the Public Auditorium at The National Academy For The Performing Arts (NAPA), was truly an evening filled with glory, memories and a bit of melancholy, that the world would never again get to see a live performance by Michael Jackson—a man whose talent came from the heavens, and whose destiny was carved by the hands of his maker.
Every penny's worth
Under the musical directive of Kenneth Listhrop, the Euangelion Singers delivered a number of songs and had the audience eating out of the palm of their hands, as they belted out hit after hit by the star, whose pictures were shown on a slide as they performed. Songs sung, included chart-toppers like Rock With You, Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, Heal The World, Wanna Be Startin’ Something, I’ll Be There, as well as hits from the Jackson Five days. Each performance was met with a thunderous applause and in some cases a standing ovation.
Dressed in Jackson’s trademark style—(shimmering glove on one hand, ankle high black pants with white visible socks, and in some performances—a hat) the group showed that hard work went into preparing for the evening, especially an evening that involved taking on the intricate vocal inflections and dance moves of a man whose creativity, hard work and love for his art made him an unparalleled talent. There were many highlights of the evening, including a performance by Euangelion junior dancer, Jediah Hall, who sent the crowd into an uproar as he mimicked the dance moves of Jackson. Icoma Alexander—Michael Jackson impersonator, also thrilled the audience with his renditions of Jackson’s choreography. But it was Charissa Marie Guiseppi who gave the audience a run for its money when the strings on her violin broke, but she was still able to smoothly deliver—Smooth Criminal, bringing down the house.
Let music be positive
As the concert regrettably came to an end, members of the audience, who were also mainly dressed in Jackson style, were asked to stand to their feet and join in on one of Jackson’s more socially conscious pieces—Man In The Mirror. Listhrop also took the opportunity to speak of the importance of positive lyrics in songs. “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. A palm tree has it’s fruit at the top, the fruits are at the top because the gifts that God gives should be held up to him,” said Listhrop “The world would be a better place if our singers today would recognise that.
“Let me borrow this quote from Plato (ancient Greek philosopher) Show me who writes a nation’s songs, and I care not who writes its laws. “Music is a reflection of our values. If our music is like vulgarity that should tell you where our society is,” he added. Listhrop emphasised if we all held fast to the right values this world would be a better place. “You know if we were placing more music and instruments in the hands of our children, we would have sent the Commissioner back to his home land already,” he declared.
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