2018 marked the year when Trinity College London, the international examinations board, reaffirmed its long standing engagement with India. The Trinity Fest, which brought under one umbrella the many examination suites offered, ranging from the oldest – classical music, to contemporary music – Rock & Pop, Drama and Performance, Communication Skills, performance arts and English Language, travelled to 16 cities in India and to Colombo in Sri Lanka.
This unique initiative, designed primarily to reach out to support teaching communities, featured, in each venue, one-day events packed with showcase performances by the Indian Academic Support Team, interactive workshops and comprehensive orientation sessions on every aspect of the examinations. The new syllabi in Piano, Singing and Rock & Pop underlined Trinity`s vision for music-making in the present and future times. The Piano syllabus, for example, while retaining its strong classical identity through the compositions of the great masters, also incorporates world and folk music, and specially commissioned pieces by young composers. Programme music, which promotes creativity and imagination, music from film and contemporary harmonic and rhythmic idioms feature prominently. The Fest was also an opportunity to acquaint educators with the many sources of digital support that TCL now provides, ranging from blogs, examiner interviews and teaching videos to curated playlists. All these are invaluable aids in making learning and examination preparation accessible to all.
While each subject suite had its own presentation, there was some seamless blending, as in the case of programmatic music from the piano syllabus supporting mime from the Performance Arts. Musical Theatre saw spirited, and impeccably coordinated singing from a children`s group in Colombo, and the Rock & Pop syllabus arrangements of both evergreen classics and more contemporary songs demonstrated how effective backing tracks are in solo performance.
Showcasing these pieces were Trinity`s academic support team members, as well as young performers and teachers from the cities visited. Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai were the major metros where the Fest was held, but the turnout and response in smaller cities like Rajkot, Dehradun and Chandigarh was equally enthusiastic.
For the Trinity academic support and administrative team, who conceptualised and presented the Fest, it was also an enriching experience. Travelling by road, rail and air, meeting and sharing the joys of performance with like-minded people, experiencing the camaraderie of taking the show across the country, their enthusiasm never flagged: as Anthony Gomes, TCL`s Western India coordinator put it, it was “wonderfully delivered, with intensity, consistency, content and effectiveness.”.