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What’s next, Dale and Darlene?

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The second round of the Bermuda International Church Piano/Jazz Festival on Sunday last was taken to such a new height with so many outstanding features this writer and many others were left wondering where the production team of Dale Butler and Darlene Hartley can go next.

The programme's opening item was a rendition of the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. It was dramatic, with verses sung in Portuguese and Tagalog (Phillipines) and English by Stephanine Pacheco, Jessica Rendora and Darlene Hartley. They were backed up by Marvin Pitcher's excellence on piano and the use of the Giant Steps Band and Jeremy Clemendor on timpani made this a show stopper, with the overflow congregation spontaneously joining in.

Rev Nicholas Tweed, Pastor of St Paul AME Church and its members as co-sponsors of the Festival had every reason to be proud experiencing it achieving its main goal “How to reach the Masses”, because the singing, scripted or spontaneous, and the instrumentalists were phenomenal.

Most notable was organist Brian Herbert. We learned this former schoolteacher, is self-taught. He hid no secrets in his audience-warm-up testimony that God blessed him with his talent, having placed in his midst a variety of talented players to learn from. His medley showed the clear impact on himself of bands like North Village, Salvation Army and the Bermuda Regiment as, as he played different versions of their respective sounds.

Combining this with his imitation of organists like Clement Amory, Cecil Smith and Mrs Doris Corbin, who is now in her 102nd year, Brian gave one of those BBC demonstrations copying their styles with the classics, marches, and real gospel that at one point it looked like he had more than enough to have been the programme's main artist.

He was followed at the organ by Mrs Elizabeth Gumbs. Like Brian she gave her introductory personal testimony of how the Lord saved her and how she was ready for glory, singing and playing two of her powerful songs, bringing the congregation to its feet.

Last but not least among the openerswas organist Raymond George. His set with the Giant Steps Band band was excellent and allowed the band to demonstrate they are absolutely ready for their upcoming venture to the Cuba International Festival. Raymond brought the productio to a crescendo. At that point we still had not seen or heard the visiting Associate Professor of Music, Dr Wayne Bucknor. And like many in the congregation we began wondering how of if he could supersede the opening acts.

But the globe-trotting organist and pianist, song writer and producer had his own surprises. Having just released his latest CD he gave a taste of how good it was. He invited a ten-year old girl from the back of the church to play with him in a performance much appreciated by the audience. Once again The Giant Steps Band joined in, when he played variations “Going Up Yonder”.

Although the programme was running overtime, the audience wanted more and Dr Bucknor was ready. With Marvin Pitcher conducting a group of 22 singers from the Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church, Dr Bucknor gave the encore closing out what was a truly electrifying concert.

As we sat there enthralled, this writer wondered how Darlene Hartley, Dale Butler's co-organiser could sing, give the welcome, thanks and make the presentations. Then we realised that Darlene also sang with the Sweet Cherries from North Rock also consisting of Roxanne Eve, Karlita Steede and Shani Smith. Helping to accenture the production were the was the singing of The Six Ripe Loquats who had made their initial presentation in the Festival's round-one. They consisted of Wayne Furbert JP, MP, Maxwell Assing, Gerald Simons, Glen Iris, Denny Richardson and Dale Butler.

After presenting three successive events, the Darlene-Butler team, are promising another production, an opening Cabaret and a rising star from Toronto, Mary Ancheta on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the City Hall with Mitchelle Trott, The United Dance Productions, dancers Walter and Joanne Ingham; Elca Maranzana, Darlene Hartley and The Giant Steps Band.

Anyone saying there is nothing to do in Bermuda or there is no live music, we think they need to pay attention.

Dale's International singers highlighting the second round of the Bermuda International (Church) Piano/Jazz Festival. The two international singers are Stephanie Pacheco and Jessica Rendore. There's Brian Herbert, organist. There's Dr Wayne Bucknor with the ten-year girl he plucked from the audience to join him at the piano. There's Pastor Nicholas Tweed with one of the three distinguished patrons, Mrs Lois Dill Weeks. The other two (not seen) were Joy Wilson Tucker and her husband Eugene Tucker. (Photo by Ira Philip)

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Published October 26, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm)

What’s next, Dale and Darlene?

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