|"These wonderful choristers who lend lustre to our Centenary...
here are a few facts about this marvellous group…”
The Marionettes Chorale is a sixty-five-voice mixed choir, which celebrated its 27th anniversary in 1991. It was formed to compete in the Music Festival of 1964, and that year, it won the two classes it entered and the Championship Trophy for those Classes. The Chorale went on to compete in 1966, 1968 and 1980, winning all classes entered in addition to being adjudged the Most Outstanding Performer of the Festival (May Johnstone Commemorative Trophy) in 1968, and the Most Outstanding Choir of the Festival in 1980 (Lion's Trophy), a year in which a record number of choirs participated in the adult classes.
For the past seventeen years it has been directed and conducted by Gretta Taylor, recipient of the Humming Bird Medal (Gold) in the 1990 National Awards, assisted by Susan Dore and managed by a nine-member committee.
Since its debut twenty-seven years ago, the Chorale has performed regularly for its home audience and overseas. In Trinidad and Tobago, it has maintained a tradition of full-length annual concerts which attract capacity audiences.
Its repertoire encompasses a wide musical range, from Gabrielli to Messiaen, and includes Spirituals, International Folk Songs, music from the shows and popular hits with chaIlenging choral arrangements. Folk Music and Calypsoes of Trinidad and Tobago constitute an important part of the choir's repertoire.
The Chorale has performed all over Trinidad & Tobago, has toured extensively in the West Indies and has visited North America, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
In 1981, motivated by a desire to measure its accomplishments against international standards, it participated in the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, gaining 5th and 7th place in the Ladies and Mixed Voice Classes from a field of over twenty competitors in both classes. In 1984 it went to Cork, Ireland, to compete in the International Choral and Folk Dance Festival and came away with three International prizes: 2nd place in the International Mixed Voice Class, 2nd prize in the Madrigal Class and the Ruth Railton prize for the visiting group, making the most outstanding contribution to the Festival. The chorale's membership consists of part-time, non-professional and unpaid singers and leaders. The group rehearses twice weekly and continues to set ambitious goals for itself.
Commitment is seen as vital to the advancement of the group, and members are able to see living examples of devotion and dutifulness in the senior members who have been part of the group from its inception.
A high percentage of the membership is under twenty-five years of age, and it is in these that the future of the group lies. Among complete works performed are Haydn's "Mass in D Minor" (Nelson Mass, Handel's "Messiah", Brahms's "Liebeslieder Waltzes", Gabrielli's "Magnificat" (for three choirs), Gabrielli's "Magnificat" (for two choirs), Mendelssohn's “Hear My Prayer”, Vaughan William’s “Five Mystical Songs”, Carl Orff’s “Camino Burans” and Leonard Bernstein's “Chic ester Psalms”.
In 1987, the 25th Anniversary of Trinidad & Tobago's Independence, the Chorale was awarded the Humming Bird Medal (Gold) in recognition of its outstanding contribution to music.