The slim woman sings


Glenda Collens: “I’d by no means considered my voice as extraordinary, till just lately, and solely looking back. It’s at all times simply been my voice.” – Mark Lyndersay


My title is Glenda Collens and I’m a vocal coach.

I didn’t know I used to be a Trinidadian until I went to highschool and met Trinidadians for the primary time. I come from a Grenadian village on Woman Younger Highway, Morvant.

I’m first-generation Trinidadian, conceived in Grenada. My mom was 4 months pregnant with me when she got here. My complete life earlier than Boston College was up in Morvant.

I now stay in Cascade with my husband, Shane, my son, Christopher Bolandz, my delight and pleasure, two rescue cats and one rescue canine.

When it was time to cool down, Shane was it. I might see this man operating across the Savannah and had no concept who he was, however thought he was scorching!

Somebody steered him as a guitarist for my musical. I gave him my numbers within the nook retailer and that was it.

Within the village the place I grew up, there was just one Trinidadian household. I didn’t know that there was a distinction between “us” and “them” till highschool, (when) I used to be made conscious of the distinction by “them.”

My mom would remind me to not let anybody know the place my household was from for worry of the label of “small islander come right here to thief natives’ jobs.”

On the wave of Independence, Prime Minister Eric Williams promised the “small islanders” their very own land and a greater life in return for his or her votes.

He put them within the thicket hills of Laventille, Morvant, Barataria, Diego Martin and Carenage. Cow-itch, stinging nettle, gru-gru bef timber and infinite snakes.

Therefore right this moment the generational vote is assured, regardless of the situation of their lives.

In 2010, I misplaced my mom Joyce, my guiding mild. Her dying left an enormous void.

She was additionally the glue who held the household collectively. When she died, (the household I got here from) died.

I used to be raised Catholic, christened, baptised and communed, however none of it caught.

If there’s a God, I’m not impressed. If that is the very best the all-powerful maker can do, I’ve quite a lot of questions as to his intent. If he exists, he’s having a stomach giggle at our expense.

I don’t do something particular to chill out as a result of I believe I’m relaxed on a regular basis.

However my son or husband will most likely have a special reply.

The “change of life” began in my forty eighth 12 months so it’s been ten years of maximum issue. I’ve needed to change right into a semi-retirement state of being. My vitality degree is underneath half what it was. I’ve these sweats each hour on the hour, typically a couple of, and it leaves me lifeless. Shifting about is like operating a marathon. (Twice) every day.

It’s exhausting. It has no mercy.

Carnival is life. For the reason that introduction of “the rope” tradition, I storm bands to see how lengthy it’s going to take earlier than they toss me out.

Shane thinks it’s hysterical as a result of they by no means do. He chips alongside on the surface rope whereas I way-lay-way-lay meh physique with every band.

I’ve stayed what BC Pires calls “beautiful” as a result of I’ve at all times been too poor to afford the very best goodies.

And I’ve stayed slim consuming my favorite dish, dumpling and stew beef, for a similar purpose.

I’ve at all times been too poor to eat out and have by no means eaten store-bought meals, junk meals or quick meals.

I’m additionally very useless. I used to be born with an important starter equipment, I adore it and I’m preserving it.

I don’t think about myself a instructor, however a coach. I’ll introduce new methods, however I assume they already can sing and work with what they arrive with.

I’d by no means considered my voice as extraordinary, till just lately and solely looking back. It’s at all times simply been my voice.

I actually do love singing and it’s the one factor I’m actually superb at. In kind 5, simply a young person, I used to be plucked out of the Holy Identify refrain by the British conductor and composer Havelock Nelson to cowl the lead in an opera. I do know now what an enormous deal it was.

I sang a lead position in Waves of Hope on the Outdated Hearth Station Theatre and Derek Walcott needed to fulfill me as a result of he didn’t imagine I used to be truly singing.

“Nice present,” he mentioned to the producers, Bernard Hazell and Ricardo Nanton, “however why did you could have that woman miming to a recording?”

I actually can’t do not forget that I felt something however amused that this man – I didn’t know who he was – thought I used to be not singing. Appeared the silliest factor to me. I didn’t perceive what all of the fuss was about.

I used to be 24 and ran away to NYC with my “stipend” from the financial institution as a result of I’d heard from that music that, if you can also make it there you can also make it wherever. I believed it.

And I did. I auditioned for the fitting individuals, received seen instantly and received to check with Ms Betty Allen on the Manhattan College of Music and the Harlem College of the Arts with funding from patrons of the humanities I didn’t know, who needed nothing in return however to have the expertise nurtured.

New York Metropolis was extraordinary.

To be in a spot the place nobody was minding your online business was the primary shock.

To be in a spot the place individuals opened the door to expertise with out a query (was the large shock).

After which handled that expertise like one thing uncommon. It was the identical wherever I sang exterior of Trinidad.

(At residence,) till Bernard Hazell and Ricardo Nanton, nobody had ever informed me how particular my sound was. They informed me so every single day.

I’m working with a very gifted 17-year-old proper now, who featured in my present at Fiesta Plaza final month. She has no concept of the power of her instrument, the identical method I believe I had no concept after I was her age. I used to be understudying Juliet Eckel and Fritz Nothnagel-Gurley and singing duets with Maurice Brash on the age of 16 within the Trinidad Opera Firm.

“I sang a lead position in Waves of Hope on the Outdated Hearth Station Theatre and Derek Walcott needed to fulfill me as a result of he didn’t imagine I used to be truly singing,” says voice coach Glend Collens. – Mark Lyndersay

My 21-year-old son just lately informed me to cease investing and believing within the potential of individuals when they’re unable to stay as much as what I see in them.

I’m compelled to assist. My prime directive is, take little to stay lengthy. I take solely the roles that can make me pleased, and never essentially the job that pays the large cash.

Mango needs to be eaten straight from the tree, with the juice squirting down the again of your throat. And never messed with, like in chow. All that salt and pepper makes me need to slap somebody. I gag on the considered mango pepper chocolate.

Having the ability to see the world with the facility of music was superior and I don’t suppose there have been any standout moments on stage, as a result of they have been all standout moments…

However my final position as an opera singer and a standing ovation for a pair minutes was fairly wonderful. Huntington Theatre, within the position of Ms Addie in Marc Blitzstein’s opera Regina. The position was already solid, however I needed it so unhealthy, I satisfied the auditioning panel to hearken to me on the finish of an extended day for them. They have been already packing up.

I killed the audition, received the position, sang my a-s off and received numerous kudos.

Over 15 years, I discover myself being the best-kept secret of vocal teaching.

It was as soon as a factor of delight to say who you studied voice with; not a lot as of late. Singers really need everybody to suppose they have been born outfitted with nice approach.

I don’t discuss in regards to the individuals I coach as a result of they don’t publicly point out my title. However I’ve coached many singers into Broadway musicals. One even made it into Hamilton, the musical.

I’m sick to dying of violence by males with fragile egos who suppose ladies are to be owned.

I’ve been working with abused ladies, serving to ladies discover their voice once more. Ladies who’ve been raped, who had their throats squeezed to cease them from making a sound.

I as soon as tried to get funding to do a workshop for extra than simply the few every year I can handle to educate totally free, but it surely’s such an enterprise. The politics and purple tape of getting linked with the fitting teams and having to take care of the personalities to get something completed defeats me. So I handle to be glad with the little I’m doing.

For the reason that query is “What’s a Trini?” and never “Who’s a Trini?” I’m decoding that to imply what a Trini does.

So a Trini is a bringer of true pleasure to the world with our tradition, meals and music.

Immediately Trinidad means to me all issues vibrant and exquisite.

Learn the total model of this function on Saturday at

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