In their much-anticipated encore to last year’s sold out performance, the world-renowned Kanneh-Mason family of Nottingham, England returns to Antigua to showcase their classical take on many popular renditions at the St. John’s Pentecostal House of Restoration at 6pm today.
The seven gifted classical music playing brothers and sisters were described recently by Britain’s Got Talent’s Simon Cowell as the most talented family in the world. This year they will be accompanied by over 27 local musicians and several overseas special performing artists.
Also featured this year, will be a 100-voice youth choir comprising several of the school children on the island who will be led in concert by world-renowned conductor out of the UK, Ruth Whitehead.
As well as kick-starting the orchestra, Whitehead’s two-week trip involves giving masterclasses to Antigua’s choral conductors and then bringing them altogether in a massed rehearsal. With her will be another special guest will be Chi-chi Nwanoku, OBE. Nwanoku, double-bass player and the director of Chineke! – Europe’s first professional black orchestra.
Last year the group played to a capacity crowd at the Spring Gardens Moravian Church with many of the overflow patrons having to view the performance standing.
This year, the organizers have sought to sell-out the Pentecostal Church to the tune of 3,000 persons.
The effort is as a part of the official “revitalization” and relaunch of the the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO).
The orchestra will provide an avenue for young people with an interest in music to hone their talents and benefit holistically from the proven virtues of exposure to music education. According ABYSO mission, they to seek give an opportunity, “to the Young people, regardless of their socio-economic background, who demonstrate a passion for and interest in developing as musicians.”
“Play To Inspire 2 comes as the second of an ongoing series of fund-raising productions,” explained one event organizer and orchestra board member Dr. Jillia Bird.
“Proceeds collected from this evening’s event will go towards excellence in music,” she continued.
“As it stands now, the orchestra has no physical home. We have to ask for use of places such as the Public library, The Antigua Girls High School and so on for the children to practice. With this effort, we hope to one day have a permanent home and performance center for the orchestra,” Dr. Bird concluded.
The event will be held under the auspices of with the Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and his wife Lady Sandra Williams; the British High Commissioner Her Excellency Karen Mae-Hill; and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.