The Music Department of the University of the Southern Caribbean has won several prizes in the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival. The 32nd Biennial Music Festival, run by the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival Association is the biggest general music event in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago and was held from February 17 -March 17, 2018. Sponsored by Scotiabank, the Festival attracted choirs and groups from across the country, representing several music schools and universities.
The event was organized into three zones: North Trinidad, South Trinidad and Tobago. Teams and individuals participated in the zonal round and winners moved on to the championship round, with USC competing in the North zone. At the end of the zonal round, USC was adjudged North Zone winners in eleven (11) classes. These are: Soprano Solo (Open class), Musical Theater Solo – Ladies (Open),Contemporary Religious Music (over 20 singers), Woodwind Solo (Junior),Woodwind Solo (Open), Woodwind Ensemble (Open), String Solo (Open), String Ensemble (Open), Piano Solo (Open), Instrumental Sight Reading (Junior) and Instrumental Sight Reading (Open). The USC Choir which also competed in the Contemporary Religious Music category also received rave reviews.
Of the eleven zonal winners, nine were selected to progress to the championship round where they competed against the winners from the South and Tobago Zones. In this round, the USC musicians were able to come away with seven (7) trophies as overall winners in several classes. Soprano Solo (Open class), Woodwind Solo (Junior), Woodwind Solo (Open), Woodwind Ensemble (Open), String Solo (Open), String Ensemble (Open) and Piano Solo (Open).
The championship round was a success for the department with wins by the USC Saxophone Quartet (The G.Stephen Wattley Memorial Trophy for woodwind ensemble), USC String Ensemble (String Ensemble class), Donja Gordon (Piano Solo), Rene Lawrence (Soprano Solo) class, Chelsea Sealy (String Solo), Nicholas Silvan (Woodwind Solo) and Mr. Nicholas Sylvan woodwind Solo (Open Class). Additionally, Mr Nicholas Sylvan – first-year music major – was awarded the Laurence McDowell Memorial trophy and TTMFA Musicianship trophy for most outstanding musicianship performance and most outstanding solo woodwind instrumentalist.
The USC recently launched its BA Music Degree and this is the first time since offering Bachelors level degrees that the university has entered this prestigious competition. Winning national music competitions is not new to the USC Music Department, but according to Kerron Hislop, Coordinator of the Music Programme, the department has seen a resurgence of winning given that it has been over 20 years since the department has performed so well in so many categories.
USC commends all students of the USC Music programme for their hard work and success!