2008 was a very special year
for The Bahamas Concert Orchestra. On September 3, this
orchestra, which has been entertaining audiences with a wide
variety of musical genres from classical to contemporary and
jazz since 1991 was awarded the honour of being recognized
as a national entity by the Government of The Bahamas, thus
becoming �The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra �.
This honour followed on the
heels of a very successful gala concert on May 3 in the
Atlantis Theatre, Paradise
Island. The forty four member
Bahamas Concert Orchestra was joined for the concert by
sixteen young Canadian violinists and their teachers from
the Academie Du Jardin Des Violons as the beginning of an
exchange programme between the two countries. The ambitious
programme began with the Vivaldi Concerto for two violins in
A minor featuring Alexandre Da Costa, renowned
international soloist, playing the 1667 �Dubois� Stradivarius violin, and Martine Cardinal, Director of Le Jardin Des Violons also a recognized violinist. The
programme also featured the forty member Bahamas Concert
Orchestra Chorus performing extracts from Vivaldi�s �Gloria�
in concert with the orchestra. The second half of the
programme provided the audience with a little light relief
in the performance of �Peter versus the Wolf�, a courtroom
comedy for orchestra and five actors, written by Justin
Locke and based on the characters and music of Sergei
Prokofiev�s �Peter and the Wolf�. Mr. Locke, a former
bassist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, attended and filmed
In December the Bahamas
National Symphony Orchestra performed in its first official
capacity at a festive Tree Lighting Ceremony sponsored by
the Cultural Affairs Division of the Ministry of Youth,
Sports and Culture at the Carmichael Road Post Office.
Also in December members of
the orchestra participated in several other Christmas
programmes assisting where there was a need for strings
and/or other instrumentalists who are well trained to be
able to perform with only a couple of rehearsals.
Members drawn from all sections of the orchestra performed
with the Ebenezer Church Choir in their Christmas concert.
BNSO members performed at the St. Andrews Kirk with the
Seventh Day Adventist Men�s Chorale.
Violinists from the BNSO performed in �Handel�s Messiah�
with the Regency Singers at the Church of the Ascension in
Freeport for the second year in a row.
? November 29.
BNSO members performed at the St. Andrews Kirk for
Christmastide 2008 under the patronage of the Governor
General, the Honorable Arthur D. Hanna.
At the end of the year the
conductor�s baton passed to Douglas Turnquest who is now
working with the orchestra towards a full programme for 2009
which will include a gala concert in addition to other
community events. A highlight will be the visit of sixteen
members of the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra to Canada
on the return half of the exchange begun last May where they
will perform with the members of Le Jardin des Violons
at St-Louis de Terrebonne Church in June. A fund
raiser concert was held at the St. Andrew�s Presbyterian
Church on March 1 towards the Canada trip. Several members
of the orchestra performed as soloists and were joined by
those who will be travelling to Canada in a group finale.
The BNSO is also working
towards preparing a programme to, hopefully, take to Abaco
next Spring at the request of the residents who greatly
enjoyed the orchestra�s previous three visits to that island
and are longing for the orchestra�s return. A major event
towards which the orchestra will also be working 2010 is
the Carifesta conference which will be hosted by The Bahamas
and at which the orchestra will be showcased. Qualified
musicians from all of the Family Islands are invited to be a
part of the BNSO and currently players participate from
Abaco and Freeport.
The Bahamas National Symphony
Orchestra takes seriously its commitment to young musicians
and to this end guides its young apprentices in both
orchestral and chamber music playing. In addition to weekly
full orchestra rehearsals the sixteen young musicians who
will be travelling to Canada meet weekly in a chamber music
programme. They presently rehearse specific repertoire to be
performed in the June 21 concert in Canada under the
guidance of senior members. This enables the musicians to
become familiar with playing in a smaller group in which
they work on texture, accurate bowing and tone quality. This
programme will be continued next year with the possible
addition of soloists.
Two students are presently
being sponsored by the BNSO to attend a Suzuki violin workshop in
Florida. These students and others will continue to attend
workshops in Florida until arrangements can be made for instruction to
take place in Nassau at a future date. The nurture and
musical training of young players will ensure the growth and
continuation of the orchestra and it is hoped that these
young persons will themselves become teachers for the next
generation of musicians.