First live symphony in Belize raises the roof of the Bliss

or It was an unforgettable experience–a first full length live symphony     performance in Belize,  by the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and the triumphant coming out of the National Youth Orchestra of Belize, under the direction of Mr. Colville Young Jr..

YOA’s ebullient  interpretation of the Russian composer, Sergei Rachmaninov’s Symphony #2 would have been more than enough for theatre goers, but to this was added the contribution of the Belize National Youth Orchestra, which electrified the audience with its performance of Merle Isaac’s Gypsy Melody.

The twin billing was intended to be a musical epiphany for the newly renovated Memorial Park, hut hours  of heavy rain  on Sunday morning forced the concert indoors, to the quiet comfort of the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts.

The National Youth Orchestra, 36 members  strong  with an impressive  ensemble of strings- a full complement of 16 violins, apart from chellos,  string bass and violas, rocked Isaac’s Gipsy Melody with a spirit and enthusiasm that brought  thunderous applause.

Director Colville Young, so often cool and collected,  plunged into the spirit of the music, and with his eager players produced something of  great beauty and polish.

The musicians have been working together as an orchestra for a little less than two years, and this was its first big performance. It was an inspiring success.

It was immediately apparent that the Belize National Youth  Orchestra  has profited greatly from its  association with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas – a happy collaboration that holds out much promise for  players and performances.

When the YOA  players took their place on stage, the audience had already been primed by the  smooth delivery of the  National Youth Orchestra of Belize, so that it waited in silent anticipation.

The audience was not disappointed. Rachmaninov in  the hands of the YOA rocked, and in the  fourth movement  the crescendo vibrated the rafters  of the Bliss and brought the audience to  its feet  in  a standing ovation.

YOA Director, Mark Gillespie, probably lost  a  few pounds for all his exertions, and his youthful musicians were with him every baton-swipe of the way.

It was a memorable performance and his players were so taken up in the mood that they produced their own impromptu mini concert after the performance with popular Latin melodies that many in the audience stayed back to enjoy.

The night started off with a charming medley of Creole folk songs performed by the National Youth Choir of Belize under the direction  of  Cindy Crawford.

Cindy Crawford has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, specializing in voice training. Her work with the little ones showed great promise.

The concert  ended with  the YOA paying tribute to Rimsky Korsakov, another Russian composer, Mr. Korsakov’s own tribute to Spanish folk melodies.

The Youth Orchestra of the Americas is an international orchestra of the best and most talented young musicians from across the Americas.

All the countries of the Americas, including Haiti and Belize, are numbered among its players. YOA selects only the  brightest and the best, sometimes picking from a field of 100 candidates to fill one spot of first violinist.

This sophistication shows in the quality of  the music it  produces, its reputation as a world class orchestra and the fierce loyalty and enthusiasm of its players, who get the chance to travel and perform all over the world.

The National Youth Orchestra of Belize, which had its beginnings in  late October 2011, not only seeks to provide Belize with a cultural medium for self expression through music. It is also abroad initiative  to  attract youthful Belizeans to develop their musical talents and introduce them to a world that has no borders because music is a universal language which all can understand and enjoy.

NICH, the National Institute of   Culture and History, is the architect of this initiative, and the National Youth Orchestra of Belize is its principal instrument

The National Youth Orchestra has been reaching into schools–village schools and town schools, high schools and junior colleges,

to spread the  word that music offers many opportunities– for growth and creativity but for financial reward.

In the words of its Director Colville Young Jr.

“The  focus of the National Youth Orchestra of Belize is not only to help our young people to develop musical skills, but to instill in them life resources that will enable them to contribute to their societies around them, training participants to become teachers and fostering leadership skills in them.”

Comments are closed.