Press Releases

July 2008

International Soprano Abigail Kelly to make her
Jamaican debút performance at Military Museum Classical Concert

Second Lieutenant Marie T Henry, HQ JDF (Civ/Mil Co-op)

The Jamaican Military Museum and Library, under the auspices of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), is to host its inaugural concert – ‘A Dream Before Freedom,’ featuring renowned  international soprano Abigail Kelly and the Jamaican premiere of a West Indian cantata: A Dream Before Freedom, with soloists, choir and military band, on Sunday 10th August 2008 at 1130 a.m.  The music and text of the cantata were composed by Dr Richard Beckford and the late Mr Norman Rae, CD.   

Abigail Kelly ... young soprano to
headline A Dream Before Freedom
Richard Beckford ... renown conductor
and pianist to accompany Ms Kelly

British born Abigail Kelly, who is of Jamaican parentage, will make her Jamaican début in a programme that spans items from Bach cantatas, operatic and popular arias, folk songs and negro-spirituals. Abigail has toured with British Youth Opera in France, Italy and the UK.  Dr Richard Beckford is a senior member of the Music Department of South Carolina State University; his most recent performance was an organ recital at the
St Andrew Parish Church.  Dr Beckford will be guest conductor for the concert. The choir is rehearsed by Winston Ewart, formerly head of the Music Department at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

Exhibits at the Military Museum

The concert is a fundraiser for the Jamaican Military Museum and Library, and introduces a programme to expand the Museum’s cultural influence in the community through a series of quality programmes in music and theatre offered to the public. This is however not an entirely new activity for the JDF.  In the past, officers participated in local theatricals; for instance, the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta that opened the Ward Theatre, after the destruction of the previous Theatre Royal by the 1907 earthquake, included a number of officers in principal roles.  This tradition has continued through the years.

Old West India Regiment and Jamaica Defence Force
Combat Vehicles on Display at the Military Museum

The proceeds from this concert are important to the preservation of part of our heritage.  To this end, it is hoped that a chamber orchestra will be formed to give periodic concerts.  The concert, followed by lunch, will be held at the Garrison Church of the Ascension, Up Park Camp, Kingston 5.  The Box Office opens on Monday 21 July 2008 at 9 a.m. at the Jamaican Military Museum and Library complex at Up Park Camp (entrance through Cotton Tree Gate) and tickets may be purchased from Mondays to Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Vintage Mortar at the entrance of the Military Museum