Concerts are not usually held on Tuesday nights at the Frank Collymore Hall, but lovers of classical music were there when the Barbados National Youth Symphony Orchestra started off the evening with one of the best renditions of the Barbados National Anthem heard in recent times.
From the first notes of the Brahms Academic Overture, it was clear that the audience was in for a musical treat. Director Joy Knight-Lynch, with a firm control on the orchestra, skilfully guided the musicians through this rather challenging piece of music.
Using this monumental work as the show-opener served to establish the capability of the orchestra and the standard to be expected for the rest of the evening.
A young Katrina Nurse, a medical student, humbly stood and brilliantly executed the Allegro from Bach’s E Major Violin Concerto on the violin.
What was probably the crowning achievement of the evening was the orchestral debut of Paper Heart.
Damien Leacock, a 21-year-old graduate of the Barbados Community College’s associate degree programme in music and the recipient of the National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts’ James Millington Award, composed this exciting piece of classical music.
The four-movement work for string orchestra featuring keyboard, flute and piccolo was a truly inspiring and encouraging exhibition of young Barbadian talent. Audience satisfaction was guaranteed as evidenced by the standing ovation.
When the Youth Symphony Orchestra Concert Band took to the stage, it was odd to see two double basses in a concert band. The assumption could be made that this was done for harmonic balance but, still, it was not a welcome sight. Nevertheless, the highlights from Exodus by Ernest Gold proved to be a rousing and well executed send-off to intermission.
The second half of the concert consisted of one piece. The Nutcracker Suite had hands tapping thighs and heads bobbing to the familiar melodies. Classical audiences seldom hear the suite in its entirety and the Youth Symphony Orchestra did not disappoint.
The Rotary Club of Barbados must be commended for throwing its support behind this talented group of musicians for the second time in less than a decade, as pointed out by club president Brenda Pope in her opening remarks. (MH/PR)