Tribune, 22 July 2009

The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra Performs in Canada. (click to open scanned Press Review)
Jennifer Hudson. 

Fourteen members of the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra (BNSO) traveled to Canada on June 18 to spend a week as guests of the musicians of Le Jardin de Violons. Although the BNSO has performed in the Family Islands, this was its first international trip and was the result of a Bahamian- Canadian exchange programme begun last year when sixteen members of Le Jardin des Violons performed with the BNSO in its annual gala concert on Paradise Island, Nassau. 

Having rehearsed separately during the year, the Bahamian and Canadian musicians came together for two rehearsals after arrival in Canada in order to adjust final details  before the  performance on June 21 in the magnificent church of Saint Louis de France in Terrebonne, just north of Montreal. The well attended concert was an outstanding success with the appreciative audience rising to give the musicians multiple standing ovations.  

Hi Excellency, Mr. Michael Smith, Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada, journeyed  from Ottawa  with his wife, Suzanne, to attend the concert. Following the performance, Mr. Smith presented brief remarks in which he expressed his enjoyment of the performance and expressed pride in the way in which ties have been forged between the Bahamian and Canadian musicians bringing the cultures of the two countries together in such a magnificent way. He also presented medals to each of the Bahamian musicians on behalf of the musicians of Le Jardin des Violins. 

The programme included works by Corelli, Vivaldi, Kreisler and Karl Jenkins with the Bahamian contingent also performing a lively rendition of the old Bahamian favourite ‘Sponger Money’ which offered a little of our Bahamian culture and thrilled the audience. 

The generosity of many helped make this exchange experience very special. Accommodations for the Bahamian musicians were very generously  provided by the families of musicians of Le Jardin des Violons. Cellos and a Double Bass were kindly loaned by the music workshop of Monsieur Jules Saint- Michel, longstanding supporter of the violin school, and a drum set was loaned by another friend in order to eliminate the problem of transporting such bulky instruments.  

Special thanks are  due to Ms. Martine Cardinal, Director/ Founder of Le Jardin des Violons and Alexandre Da Costa, Artistic Director, a renowned violinist, who not only acted as Master of Ceremonies but also performed a solo from his latest CD accompanied by the Bahamian musicians. Additionally, thanks go out to Helene Peloquin and Denis Donaldson of the BNSO who worked tirelessly along with Ms. Cardinal to organize the exchange trip and a pre-trip concert to assist in raising funds towards defraying expenses. 

Very close friendships have been forged between the musicians of the two countries and all are looking forward to the next exchange.