The National Service of Thanksgiving 2021, spearheaded by the Ministry of People Empowerment & Elder Affairs, will feature the work of Barbadian musician, Roger Gittens.
Every Barbadian, whether here or abroad, is invited to participate in this special service, scheduled to be held on Sunday, November 27, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. It will be available online to facilitate maximum public participation.
According to the Minister of People Empowerment & Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, “We have no doubt that the work of this very gifted and respected musician will further enrich the National Thanksgiving Service 2021 as an important event in the celebrations to mark Barbados’ transition from Constitutional Monarchy to Parliamentary Republic.”
Mr. Gittens is well known in the local music industry as an innovative and influential music teacher, composer, arranger, and pianist. He is as comfortable with church music and the classics as with calypso and jazz.
He holds a Bachelor in Music Education from Berklee College of Music and a Masters in Music Education from the University of North Texas.
These academic credentials equipped him to head the Performing Arts Department at the Barbados Community College, which he has done since 1997. He is also a co-writer of the CAPE Performing Arts syllabus.
Throughout his career, his musical flexibility has been widely recognised. He was commissioned to compose works for the Anglican Church, the Moravian Church, and the Barbados National Symphony Youth Orchestra.
He has arranged numerous calypsos, including winning pieces in the Pic-o-de-Crop competition for monarchs such as John King, Adrian Clarke and Ian Webster. He has also written and arranged calypsos for Junior Calypso Monarchs, including his two sons, who are musicians.
In addition, Mr. Gittens has made a significant contribution to the local jazz scene and was the opening act for Kenny G in the 1999 Jazz Festival.
He has appeared as a keyboardist in the presentations of other local artistes at local and regional jazz festivals as well as on several recordings. He has been the organist and choir director at the Shrewsbury Methodist Church since 1988, and has released two CDs of his choral work.