Outreach Youths shine at ‘Journey of Love’

By Anne Hilton Thursday, November 15 2012 –

Source Newsday – Thursday 15th November 2012

The Love Movement celebrated its 40th Anniversary with the Christmas Concert “A Journey of Love” in the Queen’s Hall last weekend.

The concert began with The Lights of Love Children’s choir (aided and abetted by some senior members) acting and singing the timeless Cinderella story – as arranged by The Walt Disney Music Company. As usual the “baddies” were the most entertaining with Olivia Bennett and Imanuel Francis as the Ugly Sisters raising shrieks of laughter and they wrangled over the glass slipper.

After the mini-pantomime (as one tends to think of the Cinderella story) the Senior Choir took the stage to sing “I Will Remember You” arranged by Kirby Shaw with references to Whitney Houston’s “ I Will Always Love You”.

The Republic Bank’s Love Movement Outreach group was, for me, the hit number of the show. It was really inspiring to see these young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and children’s homes singing and dancing their hearts out like true professionals – complete with three soloists, Dario Gonzalez, Kyle Richardson and Emilie Dow – as they performed the “Make a Joyful Noise” medley, arranged by Mark Brymer.

I confess I recognised but one of the pieces (“I feel like dancing”) in the last item in the first half of the show “Seventies with a Twist” (arranged by Marc Huff) with soloists Deborah Arrindell, Gerard Barnes, Wendy Rampaul, Janelle Spencer, Anneisha Skerritt-Wells – and Jean Marc Tardieu who delighted the audience by singing falsetto.

After the interval The Love Movement Family sang “Christmas Joy” complete with no less than five soloists, which was followed by the Senior Choir singing an arrangement of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with soloist Marsha Caballero-Stewart.

Chloe Pollonais was the young soloist for “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (Peace On Earth)” as arranged by Dave Williamson with the backing of The Senior Choir and The Lights of Love Children’s Choir.

Parents were invited on to the stage to light candles and join their children in “Light a Candle” with “Silent Night” arranged by Lari Goss with soloist Gabrielle Rajkumar. Anneisha Skerritt-Wells was the soloist for The Senior Choir’s performance of “Oh Holy Night” arranged by David T Clydesdale

“That Little Baby” (arranged by Cliff Duren) was the last item on the programme; performed by The Love Movement Family with the youngest, The Lights of Love walking up the aisles of the Queen’s Hall.

After the concert representatives of The Senior Choir, the Outreach Programme and the Lights of Love presented group founder and musical director Bernadette Laughlin-Scott with no less than three bouquets, before the choirs sang the audience to their cars as they walked out of the Queen’s Hall.

Laughlin-Scott (aka Aunty B to the kids in the choirs) throws her heart and soul into The Love Movement; she knows how to inspire and motivate parents and those around her to assist in the Movement’s near-professional productions. She chooses the music and arrangements (mainly gospel), trains (with an assistant) the choirs, designs costumes.

Sets (for this show) were by master mas’-maker Brian Macfarlane; for the rest, there was a cadre of willing helpers up to and including the indomitable drama director Dr Helmer Hilwig. There is no doubt that Laughlin-Scott does excellent work with children and with underprivileged young people, that she well deserves support both in cash and in kind.

Seeing the glowing tributes to Laughlin-Scott and the work of The Love Movement in the pages of the programme I hesitate to offer any criticism of this very worthy charitable organisation’s performance of their Christmas concert 2012.

However, I admit The Love Movement’s is not my kind of music. In fact I winced to hear snatches of Handel’s great Hallelujah Chorus reduced to gospel style singing (in pseudo-North American accents) – so it seems (and sounds) to me.

Others, I know, violently disagree with me, saying I’m behind the times, that this is how one praises God in the 21st century. It’s a matter of taste and in my opinion (and for what that’s worth) – and with kaiso and steelband excepted – of copying everything coming out of the US whether good or bad.

Nevertheless, I’m sure those who appreciate traditional Christmas carols arranged for gospel singing thoroughly enjoyed “A Journey of Love” and are already looking forward to the next production of The Love Movement.