RAISE YOUR VOICE: The popular choral group is embracing change.
In the life of any artisan or creative group worth their salt, there comes a time when the winds of change beckon urgently and you simply must respond with alacrity and purpose. After a few years of testing the waters and eventually carving a niche for itself in the cultural landscape, the Nexus Performing Arts Ensemble has landed at that critical evolutionary juncture and is going through a rebirth of sorts.
“Looking at the creative industry landscape, it’s very hard to do what we do, so we’ve been trying to break from a volunteer model into a more commercial model,” explains founding artistic director Hugh Douse. “The direction that Nexus is going into is really musical theatre, with both original Jamaican works and works that have already been mounted.”
As Douse has discovered, therein lies the most common challenge lcoal theatre practioners face: finding proper, accessible and available creative space to put on a show. “We need the right type of space, so The Ward is something I’ve been telling everybody that I want,” he reveals, his eyes brightening. “It is the best theatre house to do the kind of shows that we want to do.”
While it remains to be seen if Douse will get his Ward wish fulfilled, he’s hard at work collaborating on scripts and guiding his choristers as they focus on “building a core of sound and strong musicianship that has commercial appeal.”
Among a pantheon of outstanding choral ensembles that include the Jamaica Youth Chorale, the University Singers, the University Chorale, and the like, Nexus has earned renown for a style that uniquely blends high camp and high praise. “The way forward is to consolidate our sound. I’m happy that there are a lot of choral groups that have emerged with success, but I want us to move to the next level by combining the performing arts and the visual arts in a more powerful way,” the artistic director notes. “Whenever anyone sees Nexus next, and that will be before the end of the year, it will be with a spectacular concert which combines all the aspects of art that is worthy of artists moving ahead.”