May 28, 2022

Cayman Islands Chamber Orchestra celebrates Birth of Christ

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The Bodden Church, like the legendary “little-engine-that-could,” again distinguished itself on the Adventist music scene with a full scale orchestral Christmas classics concert on Sunday, December 17, 2017.
The evening’s performance featured international music luminary Trinidad and Tobago’s violinist Harold Beckles, and local rising stars, saxophonist Junior Hines and flautist Janelle Tibbetts.
The 20-member Seventh-day Adventist Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of founder Bentley Vaughan, presented its annual Christmas concert to an appreciative capacity audience at the humble little pioneering church sitting on the edge of the old capital’s main road.
“This has been more than a musical feast,” said the church’s Pastor Dr. Ivor Harry. “This has been stupendous” and, in its celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, a “fitting way to enter the holiday weekend,” he said.
In his many years served in many countries, he continued, he had seen many outstanding performances, but that this night’s performance made him especially “proud to be an Adventist.”
Visiting international violinist Beckles, who has opened for international stars such as Wintley Phipps, Helen Baylor, and William McDowell, said that in his many visits to Cayman he had seen the orchestra grow and blossom and predicted a bright future not only on the local but also on the international scene if members continued on their current track.   “Arriving, I didn’t know what to expect but this has been an absolute joy,” said Violinist Beckles at the end of the concert.
In his introductory remarks, Director Vaughan, who is assisted by his wife Annette and his protégé Junior Hines, explained that the orchestra’s repertoire for the evening represented a mixing of the genres, with classic Christmas songs interpreted in the frame of classical music.
Among the evening’s repertoire of classical music was Johannes Brahms’ Lullaby, which was tied in with “Away in a Manger”; Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No. 1, lending itself to “What Child is this?”; Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune, for “Silent Night”; Ludwig van Beethoven, Midnight Sonata, for “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”; and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”, interpreted in the frame of Liebesträume by Franz Liszt, among other compositions.
Bringing the house down for the night were joint and individual performances by Messrs Beckels and Junior Hines, on the violin and saxophone, respectively, with Ms Tibbetts on the flute in Christmas classics such as “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
Mr. Beckles is said to be changing the image of the violin, with his playing style described as a mixture of jazz soul and classical music. When fresh out of high school, the self-taught musician was invited to play First Violin with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Orchestra. Now an accomplished musician, he has been travelling throughout the Caribbean and the USA where he plays at concerts and special functions.
Also performing during the evening, the Bodden Town Bell Choir rendered “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”  Between each musical performance, Narrator Katya Hines reflected on the biblical story of the birth of Jesus. The evening’s performances by the orchestra ended with “O Come All Ye Faithful”, to the melody of Cantique de Jean Racine, and “Joy to the World”, to the Hallelujah Chorus from Georg Friedrich Händel’s Messiah.
In line with the tradition for these annual Christmas services at the Bodden Town Church, the offering collected for the evening went to one of the church’s initiatives.  This year, the contribution went to its Community Services Department to fund such community initiatives as its soup kitchen.
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