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Caribbean

Published on May 28th, 2014 | by Peter Ray Blood Trinidad Guardian Newspapers

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Garcia’s musical journey takes off

She’s just 20 and has already played with some of world’s best musicians including the late Ralph Mac Donald, Robert Greenidge, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and Ken “Professor” Philmore. The daughter of former Woodbrook Councillor Cleveland Garcia, Ayana Garcia recently gave a recital at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain to complete her degree programme at the UTT APA campus. A child prodigy, Garcia began playing pan at age three when deceased Ralph Mac Donald and ace arranger, her mentor, Robert Greenidge would visit and give her scales to play. At that tender age Garcia was like a sponge just eager to learn. Unknowing to her parents she organised her computer classes on a Friday afternoon at Trinity Junior School so that she could attend Ava “Auntie Ava” Hutchinson-Agard’s music class. It was only after a mere two months when Hutchinson-Agard called for her fees that her parents knew what Garcia had done. So, it was arranged that she would do music with Laura Franklyn, sing in the choir at school and then do lessons with Auntie Ava on Friday afternoons.

Garcia was given the opportunity to write the SEA examination when she was ten and passed for her first choice—Bishop Anstey High School (BAHS). At Bishop’s, Garcia continued her music tuition with musical director Lorraine Granderson and sang with the BAHS choir. After successfully completing her O’Level exams at 15, Garcia signed up at UTT John Donaldson campus to do animation but she had a change of heart and switched to music. She entered the music programme at the UTT O’Meara campus where she met Desmond Waithe, her father’s music teacher and musical director of Republic Bank Exodus. Waithe soon recognised Garcia’s talent and took her under his wings. She completed a two-year course in one year and by 2010 she was entering the BFA Programme at UTT APA campus. Waithe was and still is Garcia’s mentor, guide, lecturer and confidante. About him she said: “He is a true role model to students and should be recognised for his ability to nurture his students. He is one of the few dedicated teachers that exist now.”

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