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Zoe Ward
Upper Sixth
Worcester House

Lunchtime Recital: Katendi Heald

Lunchtime Recital: Katendi Heald

If you were walking past the Music School at around 1.20pm on Tuesday 29th November then I suspect your ears perked up as you heard the beautiful sound that is Katendi Heald’s voice floating out of the window. That’s right, after her sterling effort in West Town’s Part Song this year, Katendi made her debut appearance on the recital stage on Tuesday 29th November. I can honestly say it was a delight and a treat to be able to sit and listen to her sing today. She has a unique and stunning voice, which is rewarded with her passing every singing exam she has ever taken with a distinction; she is an extremely talented girl.

Katendi Heald singing in her recital

After a heartfelt introduction from Mr Drinkwater to a room full of West Town girls and a couple of Katendi’s male admirers, Katendi (known as Kay) took to the stage to sing her first song ‘Maybe I like it this way’. This song is taken from the musical ‘The Wild Party’ which is based on Joseph March’s poem of the same name. Debuting in the year 2000, this is a relatively contemporary play, which is certainly portrayed through the song that Kay sang. She seemed as if she was putting every effort into displaying the emotion of this song, however never being distracting from the singing techniques which she is extremely proficient at. She had a great use of vibrato, not to mention her large vocal range that she demonstrated throughout the recital, her lower register being particularly strong; a feat which is difficult for a soprano. Kay even spoke a section of the piece, which was extremely moving as she articulated the lyrics with clarity and definition. She played the part of her character Queenie well and the audience really got a feel for what the song was trying to convey.

Next up was the well known ‘Memory’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical ‘Cats’. Kay played the part of Grizabella, a one-time glamour puss who is a shadow of her former self. The song expresses Grizabella’s desires to start a new life whilst remembering her glorious old one. The opening few bars of Memory is based on Ravel’s composition Bolero and interestingly considering Evita was Clifton’s school production this year, Memory was almost included in the production of Evita as a ballad for Peron, before its inclusion in Cats. Kay dealt with the syncopated rhythms extremely well, and kept composure during the instrumental section. During the song there are many leaps and intervals, and a tempting and easy habit would be to swoop onto the notes, as opposed to clearly defining the interval. However, Kay did not fall victim to this and handled the jumps well, especially when switching from the chest register to her head voice. Finally, the pretty and delicate ending of the song added to the graceful and delectable mood of the song. Katendi ended her recital with ‘Movie in My Mind’ from Miss Saigon, a musical written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. The song was another extremely emotional and moving piece, which built up in the middle with a stunning crescendo, which contrasted with the following sudden quiet section. Again Kay demonstrated her strong lower register throughout the song.

A truly brilliant recital, a pleasure to listen and watch as Katendi filled the room with the sound of her voice. Well done!

5 December 2011

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