Lydian Male Choir (March 2004)
"The Lydian Singers choir was founded by Joyce Spence who, after completing studies in music in Canada, returned to Trinidad to teach music at her alma mater, Bishop Anstey High School. She had long wanted to have a mixed voice choir, and in 1979 brought together 20 voices, mostly her own past students. In 1980 they walked away with the Mary Elizabeth Evans Cup at the Music Festival. They repeated that feat in 1982, also copping the JCC Cup for Most Outstanding Choir, and the Lion's Cup for Most Outstanding Choir in the Festival. Mrs. Spence's ill-health forced the group into a two-year hiatus. In 1985, under the direction of Alma Pierre and Gillian Ballinthulo, the group was revived. In 1987, the Lydians swept through the Music Festival under the direction of Pat Bishop, herself an old Bishop's girl. Under her direction the choir's repertoire became one of the most diverse and challengin to be found in Trinidad and Tobago, and they also continued to dominate the Music Festival. With Indian and African drums, an orchestra of keyboards and a 15-member steelband, the choir has staged three operas since 1995. That all their orchestra members read music, distinguishes them from many other steelbands in Trinidad and Tobago, where music literacy is at a minimum. Out of the Lydians have also come some of Trinidad's most talented singers, including bass Barry Martin and baritone Michael Zephrin. In 1997, tenor Edward Cumberbatch won the Vocal Recital Class in the over 25 category at the International Eisteddfod in South Africa. In 1991, the choir was awarded the Hummingbird Medal Gold, for loyal and devoted service in the sphere of singing. They also shared with the Love Movement, the 1997 Express Individual of the Year Award for Community Service. In 2000, they walked away with two Cacique Awards for Best Costume Design and Most Outstanding Musical Director, for their 1999 production of Turandot." (Unknown Writer, November 2015)
Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit