Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Years Day! BACH meets BRADLEY - a concert and public discussion offered to all who love music!

BACH MEETS BRADLEY Concert (2009) will air on local television station Gayelle The Channel 8 PM New Years Day and at 9:30 PM on January 6th 2010. Don't Miss it!

BACH meets BRADLEY - a concert and public discussion offered to all who love music!


Christian Lumsden, Organ playing the music of J.S. Bach
Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, playing the music of Clive Bradley

On behalf of the Lydian Singers and Steel...celebrating their thirtieth music-making year, music lovers were invited to share in this once - in - a - lifetime musical experience, where OUR people played the music for the organ and pan by two of the best composers of music for these two kinds of instruments. The concert occurred on Saturday 15th August, 2009 at Tranquility Methodist Church, 7:30 pm. Gayelle The Channel did a live recording of the show and will air it this New Years Day and on January 6th on their station.

"Listen and learn the differences...Listen to the similarities and rejoice...Understand that good music is just that ... good! The notice is short but the cause is just! "
- Pat Bishop

Official Press release:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The Lydians wishes to thank all concert attendees who shared with us in the experience of Handel's Messiah.

Thank you to all artistic Collaborators:
Guru Mondira Balkaransingh
Micheal Lucien and the Malick Folk Performers
All members of the The Lydian Steel Orchestra
Krishna Soogrim-Ram and The Soogrim-Ram Tassa
Xavier Phillips and the Lydian drummers
Gillian Bishop and her team
Bernard Beckles and the La Tropicale Flower shop

Thank you to all members of the media who gave us coverage!

Thank you to the entire management committee and technical crew including:
Sound: Victor Donowa
Lighting: Derek Gay

Thank you to the costuming genius of resident designer and seamstress Claudette Edwards and her entire team!

Thank you to the management and staff of the Queen's Hall Auditorium.

And Thank You to the Lydians management team, all Lydians and the Lydians extended family!

Visit to see the photos from our amazing show!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Imaging Messiah...Five days to show time…

Rehearsal Notes from Dr. Pat Bishop....

"So we have to be seen. We shall be heard – that’s for sure. But how will we look?!."

This is “Performance Art!! Sometimes, having more than one artistic core discipline puts one into transdiciplinarity –an intellectual position to which one is committed. How do I know what I hear until I see what I’m singing, playing, and all the rest?

But we have had the exhaustion of CHOGM and we are a week to show time and we can only now shape the visuals, the sounds, the movement and so on. I’m writing this at 3:00 a.m – 7 days to show time. (Thursday 3rd December 2009) Mondira, my friend, with the bells on her feet and that incredibly polite understanding of what movement is, “falls in”… and Michael Lucien’s Malick dancers arrive with their white skirts and the confidence that they can dance to anything which they hear. Malick understands what “show time” is. And so we put in Xavier’s drums, and the Soogrim Ram tassa boys and we let them loose.

Writing this at 3 in the morning and I am on a high because “Messiah” without changing a single note becomes a truly T & T tribute to the Baroque. Watch Eddie and Mondira plead “Comfort ye, my people” and you are reduced by the beauty and the intensity of the place by the sheer beauty of the voice, the dancer and the bells on her feet…and you begin to understand that this is no search for “impertinent vanities”.

This is not a process which lends itself to blue print. It’s like making a very large painting and trusting your paint!! Wish us luck because this is a HUGE picture!

Pat Bishop
Port of Spain
December, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Artistic Collaborations abound for the Lydians performance of Handel's Messiah!

The Lydians - Handel's Messiah, December 10th - 13th 2009
Rehearsal - Bishop Anstey High School Hall

6 Days to Opening Night...

The Lydians rehearsal for Handel's Messiah seemed an evening for the creative callaloo of artistic collaborations, with the additions of Guru Mondira Balkaransingh and Mr. Michael Lucien, and the Malick Folk Performers. The combination itself truly represents all that is Trinidad and Tobago culture, a mixture of varied influences and unique artistic expressions!

Indian-born Mondira Balkaransingh is the Artistic Director of the Nrityanjali Theatre, Institute for the Arts and Culture. The Nrityanjali Theatre was founded in 1977 by the Balkaransinghs ( Sat and Mondira) and has produced numerous ballets and stage productions. It has travelled extensively throughout the Caribbean, USA and UK. The theatre is noted for staging productions at the highest professional level and has always won accolades for its works.

The artistry and great tradition of the Kathak classical style of dance, usually includes rich musical accompaniments of the tabla, sitar sarangis and vocal renditions. However, with the Handel's Messiah, Dr. Pat Bishop has fused the sounds of classical baroque music, in the form of the harpsichord and organ instruments, along with the steelpan, the Tassa and African drums, and last evening, the rhythmic bells of Kathak dance to create an entirely new sound, which is wholly Caribbean and entirely new to any performance of Handel's Messiah before now!

The Malick Folk Performers, over 20 years in existence under the directorship of Michael Lucien, have been performing with the Lydians for the past 5-6 years. Out of the group's large ensemble, only an average of 6-8 perform during concerts on stage with the choir. The Malick Folk Performers have participated in the two operas by the Lydians, Koanga in 1995 and Elixir of Love in 1996, have performed with the choir at the Prime Minister's residence, and were also part o the choir's performance for the leaders of Cuba and The Netherlands in 1995. For Handel's Messiah, this Christmas, the Malick folk Performers joins the cast to bring several of the Messiah choruses alive with the jubilation of their unique dancing styles!

Tickets (TT$125.00, US$19.64 EU$13.03) for the Lydians performance of Handel's Messiah are available at the following locations:

Queen's Hall Box Office, Queen's Hall Auditorium, Port of Spain
La Tropicale Flower Shop, Patna Street, St. James
Signature 2000, The Marketplace, Normandie Hotel
And all Choir members!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On the journey to The Lydians performance of Handel's Messiah - rehearsal notes (Monday 30th November 2009, BAHS Hall Port of Spain)

The Lydians - Handel's Messiah,
December 10th - 13th 2009
Rehearsal - Bishop Anstey High School Hall

9 Days to Opening Night...

Handel is no stranger to the Lydians. Our rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah is often a piece that is done in jubilant celebration at the end of every concert we perform. This jubilation is heightened by Dr. Bishop's incorporation of rhythm and percussion, with thundering African drums and the rippling accompaniment of indigenous Tassa drums. The overall effect is a heavenly and joyful noise, a signature sound that is synonymous with the Lydians.

At Monday evening's rehearsal, Dr. Bishop revealed that people have asked why she intends to make rhythm and percussion instruments such an integral part of the upcoming performance of Handel's Messiah. She relayed that often times in paintings from that period of musicians, the percussionist would wear garments inclusive of a tiger skin. She told the group of gathered singers and instrumentalists that in the baroque period, there was an appreciation for rhythmic instruments, such as the Turkish drums. This she felt spoke to an attention to percussion nuance in baroque music, which she intended to make use of in the Lydians interpretation of the Messiah this Christmas.

The Lydians and Lydians Steel were joined by the Soogrim-Ram Tassa drummers at Bishop Anstey High School Hall, where several rhythms from the combination of instruments were tried, both with the Hallelujah Chorus as well as an experiment using drums and rhythm with the final chorus of the Messiah, Worthy is the Lamb!

More from our next rehearsal, Wednesday 2nd December 2009 as we countdown the final days before the performance of Handel's Messiah!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Lydians salute Queen’s Hall with Handel’s Messiah at Christmas

The Lydians salute Queen’s Hall with Handel’s Messiah at Christmas

By a fortuitous alignment of calendars, three significant musical dates have come together this year, 2009: Queen’s Hall is fifty years old, George Frideric Handel died two hundred and fifty years ago and it is the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Lydians.

What better way to acknowledge this gift of fortune, than for the Lydians, under the musical direction of Pat Bishop, accompanied by Lydian Steel and renowned keyboardists Lindy-Ann Bodden-Ritch and Myrtle Cumberbatch, to perform Handel’s well-loved ‘Messiah’ in its entirety at Queen’s Hall?

While celebrating significant anniversaries, this concert is itself a landmark event. It is the World Premiere of Handel’s Messiah accompanied by steelband, keyboards and drums. Audiences at Lydian performances have long thrilled to their interpretation of the last chorus of the second part of this three-part work – the rousing ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ with steelpan, Indian and African drums. Additionally, many of the well-known choruses in this work have featured in past Lydian Christmas concerts; among them, ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’ and ‘Glory to God’. Soloists Eddie Cumberbatch’s ‘Comfort ye my people’ and ‘Every valley shall be exalted’ as well as Benedict Rousseau’s ‘Thus saith the Lord’ and ‘But who shall abide the day of his coming?’ are already familiar to audiences. But this is the first time that the complete work from the Overture to the final choruses, ‘Worthy is the Lamb’ and ‘Amen’ will be heard with the unique Lydian sound of voices and steel.

The Messiah has long been a staple of Christmas concerts the world over. It is an oratorio of fifty-three pieces in three parts, comprising grouped sequences of recitatives, airs and choruses. This allows the impressive line-up of Lydian soloists great scope to showcase talent and skilful interpretation. Joining the stellar cast of seasoned performers which includes Edward Cumberbatch, Glenis Yearwood, Joanne Pyle, Jenny Archer, Langford Madray, Benedict Rousseau, Dirk Govia, Garnet Allen, Janine Charles-Farray, Noel Rawlins, Pat Whittle, is a host of exciting young Lydians who will entertain and excite in the true Lydian spirit.

The concert series runs from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th at 8.15 pm and on Sunday 13th December at 6.30 pm.

Tickets at $125, are available from members of the Lydians, Signature 2000 at The Marketplace, Hotel Normandie, St Ann’s – Joanne 624 2958; La Tropicale Flower Shop, Patna St, St James – Bernard 628 0769; and at Queen’s Hall Box Office 624 1284

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Artwork for The Lydians performance of Handel's Messiah (with steelpan)

ARTWORK for The Lydians Production of Handel's Messiah is complete!

ALSO - Tickets for Handel's Messiah will go on sale from December 1st 2009 (right after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) The cost is only $125! Available from Signature 2000, Hotel Normandie St. Ann's, La Tropicale Flower Shop, Patna Street, St. James and all members of the Lydians.

Look out for further details on the website:

Updates on the Lydians performance of Handel's Messiah (with Steelpan)!

We have finally completed all choruses of the Handel's Messiah! Now, on to the study of nuanced singing and detailing. Early practice sessions continue from 7 pm at the choir's rehearsal location at Bishop Anstey High School.

Soloist rehearsal began for Lydians last Sunday (22nd November) with a session at Musical Director, Dr. Bishop's residence. There was an intense listening session using the Cabrielli version of Handel's Messiah. Dr. Bishop thought the tempi and interpretation inspiring and similar to her vision and her intended interpretation of the Messiah. What did the soloists think? "It FAST boy!" Particular attention was paid to the ornament work to be done by all soloists.

Local television station Gayelle The Channel joins the journey towards, "The Making of Handel's Messiah" with the Lydians. Filming began at rehearsal at Bishop Anstey High School on Monday 16th November, with Dr. Christopher Laird, C.E.O. of Gayelle TV!

The first experiment with the Handel's Messiah as a performance to the public was a success! Thank you Santa Cruz RC for your warm reception!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Handel for Christmas!

Trinidad and Tobago, The Lydians- To round up a year long celebration of 30 years of music, the Lydians will be putting on a performance of Handel's Messiah for Christmas 2009. It is said to be the first time that Handel's Messiah will be performed in its entirety with the steelpan instrument. Rehearsals have already begun and are in full swing, the choir started with the second-to-last major chorus, first. "Worthy Is The Lamb" is a rousing chorus with both technical challenges for the vocals as well as beautiful playing passages for the orchestra.

Oratorios have already been assigned to selected soloists, and this Christmas you can expect to hear from star vocalists such as tenor Eddie Cumberbatch, and sopranos Joanne Pyle and Glenis Yearwood. Joining the front line as new soloists are contraltos Elena Rawlins, Anike Richardson and tenor Jean-Paul Bethelmy.

For this performance, Dr. Pat Bishop has issued an open invitation to any singer, pannist or instrumentalist who may be interested in joining with us. (Pannists and instrumentalists -where applicable- must be able to read music comfortably.)

If you are interested in singing with us this Christmas, or, if you know a friend or a family member who is also interested, in singing pieces from Handel's Messiah, be sure to visit our rehearsals every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting from the first week in July 2009. As is customary in the Lydians, there will be no auditions! The Lydians holds fast to its philosophy that anyone who is willing to sing and is dedicated to the work is welcome to join.

If you'd like to call first, you may contact our choir manager, Mr. Patrick Bertrand at 794-6391 for further details.

Messiah dates for Christmas are as follows: 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of December 2009. Ticket release dates will be announced soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


As you all might know, The Lydians will be celebrating 30 years of existence this year, and there are some key events planned so far. One of the most important is our thanksgiving service. On the heels of this will be The Lydians' Bi-annual Ole Mas and Calypso competition and following that will be our Gala Dinner.

Here are some important dates to remember:

  1. Thanksgiving service - Friday January 30th, 2009 @ Tranquility Methodist Church, Victoria Avenue. Starts @ 8:00 P.M.
  2. Lydians Bi -annual Ole Mas & Calypso competition will be held on Wednesday 18th February 2009.
**Info on the Gala will be posted soon. So keep checking this blog!

Also, the Lydians MAILING LIST has now been put into effect! This mailing list allows you first access to press releases flyers, general updates and more! One can join the mailing list by sending a request email to with the subject: 'Mailing List Request'.

Calling all Lydians from far and wide!

The Lydians will be singing for the Summit of the Americas on April 18th 2009. Rehearsal continues on Monday 26th January 2009!

In other news---

The Lydians Fan Page on Facebook has crossed 100 fans!

For those who are active on Facebook, the official Lydians fan page can be found here:

Continue to invite your friends, families and music lovers to join the Lydians fan page!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A New Lydian Direction for 2009!

Dear Friends in Music,

A very Happy (if belated) New Year to you all from the Lydians! Last Sunday's Nine Lessons and Carols service at St. Micheal and All Angels Anglican Church in Diamond Vale, Diego Martin was a special treat for the Lydians, parishioners and well wishers alike. The Lydians offered some of our Christmas favourites from our 2008 Christmas concert series, "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Christmas" and "From Hill To Hill to Mount St. Benedict." Fr. Ashley Mungal and Dean Nolly Clarke lead the service with moving readings of the nine lessons of the Christmas season and the Lydians accompanied the service with both tradiotional Christmas carols, as well as other Lydians Christmas standards such as 'Red and Green Christmas', 'Go Tell It on the Mountain' and 'African Noel.'

Eddie Cumberbatch gave a pore-raising rendition of 'Then Shall The Righteous Shine' with Myrtle Cumberbatch as accompanist and the ever-popular and inspirational 'Sing Sweet and Low' with John Jacob as accompanist.

During the service Dr. Bishop gave some insight into the new direction she intended to take the choir for 2009. She stressed the importance of "working together to create a space within which we can hear a still small voice of calm." Using music as the medium through which this space can be created, Dr. Bishop intends to continue the "Ministry of Music" with the Lydians, aiming to "take our gifts and our song to where the people are." Whether this ministry will take the form of a nation-wide road tour or something different remains to be seen! The evening ended with the Lydians giving a spirited rendition of Parang favourites, 'Alegria', 'La Pascualidad' and 'Anda Parrandero' written by friends of the Lydians, Los Tocadores.

Overall, the Lydians and Dr. Bishop would like to thank all those who came out on the nights of our free "hill concerts" in Morvant, Gonsales and Laventille and to the special concert presentations at San Fernando Hill and Mount St. Benedict. Also, we would like to say a special thank you to The WITCO Desperadoes who joined with us in this journey to bring some peace and music to the Hills of Trinidad and Tobago.

2008 ended on a somber note as the Lydian community mourned the passing of Mr Hade, long-standing caretaker of the Bishop Anstey High School grounds. Mr. Hade passed away the 30th of December. His funeral was held on Friday 2nd January 10 am at All Saints Anglican Church. During his tenure at Bishop Anstey High, he was ever helpful to the Lydians during our rehearsals and always saw to our comfort while we practiced at the school. Our most sincere condolences to his family and to the administration and students of the Bishop Anstey High School.

To our members, rehearsal begins for the new year on Monday 12th of Janurary 2009 at 7:30 pm in the Bishop Anstey High School Hall. An announcement on the blueprint for yet another year of glorious music will be made. See you there and stay tuned to the Lydians Online ( and this blog for further updates on all things Lydians for the rest of the year!