The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra Thrills Audience.
A very appreciative audience helped the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra celebrate its 20th Anniversary at a gala concert held at the College of The Bahamas Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, May 14, 2011. The concert was under the patronage of the Governor General of The Bahamas, Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes who, following the finale, led the audience in a standing ovation.
The forty seven piece orchestra, under the direction of its conductor, Mr. Douglas Turnquest, presented a varied programme which was thoroughly enjoyed by the large audience. The strong string section, consisted of a number of young protégés of the orchestra as well as several founding members and was well balanced by the competent woodwind and brass sections.
The first half of the programme is traditionally a classical section and contained such favourites as Scheherazade by Rimsky Korsakov, Allegretto from the Military Symphony by Franz Joseph Haydn and the rousing Ritual Fire Dance by Manuel de Falla. A highlight of the evening was the excellent performance by five of the orchestra’s young violinists as soloists in the first movement of the Violin Concerto in A Minor by Antonio Vivaldi. Jonathan Elliott, Alexandria Smith, Brittany Malcolm, Ana-Phelice Greene and Angelique Mackey were supported by Chris Elliott on the cello. The young violinists are all students of Mr. Martin Goldman, President of the Suzuki Violin Association of South Florida, who travels to Nassau twice per month to head the BNSO’s programme for young string players. Solos in the second and third movements were performed by Afrika Karamo-Miller orchestra member from Grand Bahama.
Several pieces in the second half, such as Fiesta Tropicale and Blue Tango, got the audience’s feet tapping and saxophonist Ralph Munnings was a crowd pleaser with his two spectacular solos, Little Girl Blue and That’s All. A stirring modern piece entitled Millennium, closed the programme with the audience applause requesting an encore. Conductor Turnquest invited the audience to join with the orchestra in a Celebration during the playing of a piece by that name. The audience clapped to the beat in a joyful ending to the evening and in celebration of the BNSO’s 20 years of music. Following the concert a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception provided an opportunity for the audience to meet and greet BNSO members.
The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra is committed to the goal of training young musicians to become a valuable part of the orchestra. To this end the BNSO will hold its second Summer Workshop from June 20 -July 1 at Epworth Hall, Ebenezer Church, Shirley Street. A very interesting programme has been planned which will include a variety of musical activities and instruction individually tailored for beginning, intermediate and advanced student groups. Individual instruction by Mr. Martin Goldman and members of the BNSO will be an important part of the programme and intermediate and advanced students will have the opportunity via video lab to record and watch themselves playing. Classes will be offered for strings, woodwind, brass and percussion.