Out of this world . . . Makeda Trust show performers are big hit
As the curtains rolled back at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts and a female voice bellowed out, I could feel the hairs on top of my arms rise.
A soulful, gospel sound poured through the room as a student-centred orchestra played passionately in the background.
It was the voice of rising star Candace Furbert, who, like several other young talents, would blow away audience members at To Live is to Dream, to Dream is to Live.
The show, which was put on by charity Makeda Trust, in a bid to start the Islands first performing arts school, began promptly at 8pm on Thursday.
As the last few revellers took to their seats, Candace belted out her rendition of Adeles Rolling in the Deep.
She mastered the difficult song with effortless vocals and without a shadow of nervousness and started the night off on a high note.
The mood quickly changed though, as students took to the stage to perform a 20-minute version of Harper Lees dramatic tale, To Kill a Mockingbird.
More than a dozen young actors donned Southern accents in a bid to transport the audience to the fast-talking, slow-moving American town.
The young people worked together seamlessly, with notable performances given by Jordan Simmons-Trott playing Atticus, Kenszo Iris playing Tom Robinson and Rickai Burrows as the villain Bob Ewell.
Getting back to the musical side of things, Cimeon Tyrrell took to the stage to perform a sultry and dreamy rendition of the title song from the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.
Talented singer Danté Taylor also shone in a rendition of I Who Have Nothing. With his deep voice and quiet confidence, he nailed the song and received roaring applause amid some swooning from the audience.
The students danced up a storm to a medley of hits from the 60s and 70s, including Aretha Franklins Natural Woman and Donna Summers Last Dance.
There were moments when the group seemed out of sync, but they all showed versatility with a combination of ballet, hip hop and interpretive dance moves. Dancer Makeda Simmons particularly stood out in this portion.
Still the final and most impressive portion of the evening was still to come, as youngsters took to the stage to perform three numbers from the broadway hit The Lion King.
In addition to strong singing and dancing, the costume, make-up and set design also stood out in this segment.
Candace once again wowed the audience with her energetic dancing and powerful vocals in the role of Rafiki. Cimeon also proved to be a young talent in the making as he belted out a stunning version of He Lives in You, accompanied by a local choir.
Makeda Trust co-founder Glenn Doers said the performance left him speechless and went beyond his expectations.
He said: Our goal in this is to show Bermuda the talent at this level. If we were to support our young people in the performing arts look what we can achieve in nine weeks and imagine what we could achieve in four years.
Its something that is needed in Bermuda as an alternative learning experience for our young people.
Co-founder Shawn Murphy described the performances as out of this world.
I have never seen this variety in Bermuda and just the precision and execution of the whole show, it was very smooth, front to back.
Mr Murphy started Makeda Trust six years ago when he noticed his daughter Shana, now 14, struggling in the traditional academic setting, but thriving in performing arts.
Shana, a budding actress, said she felt lucky to have a dad who not only understood her talents, but who wanted to support other young people in their artistic growth.
When asked of her reaction to the performance, she said: I didnt see anything before this and I was blown away by it. They were so good, they were amazing. I was so impressed.
For details on Makeda Trust go to www.makedatrust.org, or telephone 234-9333.
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