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San Pedro Shines: An Evening Of Classical Music

San Pedro Shines: An Evening Of Classical Music
January 23
10:55 2020

San Pedro Shines: An Evening Of Classical Music


San Pedro was treated to something not often seen in the town in recent years:  The Belize Virtuosi String Orchestra, directed by Peter Illavsky, world-renowned Cellist in Vienna, Austria.  The event was held at the Paradise Theatre on January 11, 2020 and was attended by close to 200 guests of all ages.

This concert is part of a larger initiative:  BAPA – Belize Academy of the Performing Arts which consists of classically trained international musicians and Belizean music students for the purpose of bringing the art of classical music to Belize.  BAPA was founded in April 2019 by Peter Illavsky and Attorney Joel Nagel.  According to BAPA’s Chairman, Joel Nagel “The goal of the Belize Academy for the Performing Arts is to expose the young people of Belize to all of the arts, especially classical music and encourage them to pursue music and the arts as part of their educational studies.”

Since Mr. Illavsky has a passion for getting children interested in music at an early age, shortly after he arrived in San Pedro he hosted “Say “Hello” to a Cello” where he brought his cello to the park and showed interested children how to play.  A few children took interest in trying out the cello and begged their parents to take them to the concert.   Following the park performance, Director Peter Illavsky joined the rest of the orchestra:  Akos Banlaky, Composer and Piano (Austria), Kanie Herrera, Soprano (Belize), Jacqueline Kopacinski, Violin (Austria), Jaroslav Meluzin, Viola (Mexico), Lois Robinson, Double Bass (United States).on stage at the Paradise Theatre to an expectant audience.

The group performed music from well known composers such as Franz Ippisch, Mozart as well as Belizean Governor General Sir Colville Young, Sr.  The audience was especially impressed by the Duo of Austrian Composer Franz Ippisch (1883-1958) who lived in Guatemala for 20 years.   During intermission, Mr. Illavsky permitted interested children to come on stage and play the cello.   The event ended on a high note and attendees were curious to know if future performances were being planned.

A second San Pedro performance was held at Living Word Church’s 10:45 am Sunday service. The congregation as well as guests were treated to several musical compositions and lovely vocals from Ms. Herrera.  In addition to performances at the Baron Bliss Auditorium and the Mexican Institute of the Mexican Embassy, Belize City prior to arriving in San Pedro, the BAPA musicians will be going to Guatemala as a “friendship” tour to perform in Guatemala City January 20th and 21st.

These events would not have been possible had it not been for the support of: the Austrian Government and Austrian Embassy in Mexico which assisted with travel and venues to play on mainland Belize; Attorney Joel Nagel and Michelle Duncan of Nagel & Associates, Caye International Bank, and ECI Development which locally sponsored this event and provided logistics; Grand Baymen Gardens for lodging; Ande Woods of AW-SOME Productions for promoting the event island wide; Austin Pierce of Paradise Theatre; and Pastor Ian Zaldivar of Living Word Church.

The BAPA said that they look forward to staging more events in Belize throughout the year and we are extremely pleased to be working with talented opera singers from the Metropolitan Opera in New York to put on the opera “Porgy and Bess” next Thursday January 23rd at the Bliss Centre for the Performing Arts in Belize City.

For up-to-date details: follow the Belize Academy for the Performing Arts Facebook page for announcements.

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