December 2006
One of the country's leading choral groups, the Marionettes Chorale was conceived in 1963 by Trinidad musicians Jocelyn Pierre and June Williams-Thorne, ahead of the 1964 edition of the Music Festival. They were named overall winners at the 1964, 1966, and 1968 Music Festivals. In 1967, they brought their talents to international attention at the World Expo in Montreal. By the time conductor Gretta Taylor took on the role of conductor in 1974, the Marionettes were a regular feature on the local stage. In 1980, they made their final appearance in the Music Festival, retiring from the competition at the top of the game. The 80 strong choir has toured extensively in the Caribbean, North America, the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic taking part in major international contests and bringing home four of their most prestigious prizes against keen rivalry from choirs from around the world. Their repertoire consists of an impressive lists of the music of local artists including David Rudder, Andre Tanker, Len Sharpe, arranged by long-standing choir member Desmond Waithe. For their outstanding contribution to music they were awarded the Hummingbird Gold in 1987. The Marionettes Youth Chorale was launched in July 1995, partly to groom young singers to join the senior Marionettes, but also to provide a serious musical outlet for young singers and instrumentalists. The group's first performance was given by 57 members, all girls, from 16 different schools. By the end of 1997, there were 65 girls, ranging in age from 11 upwards; half of them were founder members. In July 1997 the choir became a mixed group, with the addition of 27 boys. The members now come from 26 schools." (Unknown Writer, November 2015)
Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit