It is with great pleasure that the Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra will be performing on the island of Abaco in aid of the Pathfinders Scholarship Fund. The concerts will be held on March 15 at 7.30 p.m. under the stars at the Abaco Inn on Elbow Cay and on March 16 at 2.30 p.m. in the Pavilion of the Abaco Beach Resort, Marsh Harbour.
Now in its 24th season, the orchestra was founded in 1991 by Nassau resident Jennifer Hudson who now resides on Abaco but remains an integral part and plays with the orchestra as concert master. It was created to fill a void in the classical music field. It is the orchestra’s goal to fulfill that need in the community by presenting light classical and contemporary music for the enrichment of the cultural life of The Bahamas.
Originally established as The Bahamas Concert Orchestra, members were honoured when in 2008 the Bahamas Government bestowed upon designation of The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra. It is truly a national entity since the orchestra is composed not only of players from New Providence but is also joined for concerts by instrumentalists from Grand Bahama and Abaco.
In addition to its many concerts in Nassau, the orchestra has performed on the island of Abaco on three previous occasions; in 1997, 1998 and 2001. On each occasion at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge and also consecutively at the Anglican Parish Hall, Forest Heights Academy and Abaco Beach Hotel. However, this year the visit will make history as it will be the first time the orchestra has travelled as The Bahamas National Symphony Orchestra.
All of the visits to Abaco left members with memories to be treasured and they will always remember balancing a large number of orchestra members dressed right down in formals and tuxedos tucked into a little dinghy putt-putting across the Hope Town Harbour from Club Soleil to perform in concert at the Lodge.
The 2001 concert was especially memorable. During the playing of the ‘Thunder and Lightening Polka’ by Johann Strauss, under the stars at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge the sky did amazingly begin to rumble, adding its own percussion effects to those of the orchestra but, fortunately, the rain held off. During the concert the following day at the Abaco Beach Resort, whilst playing the stealthy theme from ‘The Pink Panther’, everyone was amazed when a streaker dashed across in front of the stage. Whilst the audience roared, the orchestra never missed a beat.
The programme this year will be a potpourri of ‘Music You Know and Love’ The first half will begin with the rousing ‘Grand March from Tannhauser’ by Richard Wagner and include other light classics such as the well-known first movement from Antonin Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ and beautiful themes from Rimsky Korsakov’s ‘Scheherazade’ (The Young Prince and Princess).
The second section will consist of a lively miscellany of contemporary favourites such as ‘The Impossible Dream’, ‘Music Box Dancer’, ‘Goombay Fantasia’ and the ever popular ‘Themes from 007’.
While encompassing a wide age range of instrumentalists from all walks of life, the orchestra places a strong emphasis on the nurturing of young musicians and supports programs to this end. They are proud to have recently launched the Denis W. Donaldson Music Scholarship in memory of one of the founding members who was not only a very talented double bass player and musician in general but was a backbone of the orchestra in many other ways. He was also a strong advocate for the training of young musicians and this scholarship will be awarded to a talented musician wishing to pursue tertiary education in the musical field.
We hope to see you there to enjoy the ‘Music You Know and Love’ and in so doing support the very worthy Pathfinders organization in sending deserving students off to college.