Sharing Musical Skills: Antigua and Barbuda!2023
Returning to Antigua for the first time since 2019, our dedicated team of composers, musicians, educators, joined with the prodigious talents of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) to shine a light on the musical tapestry of the islands.
Through days of workshops, rehearsals, and awe-inspiring concerts, we’ve aimed to learn about the potential of the island’s young musicians, nurture their compositional abilities, and celebrate the richness of Antiguan and Barbudan cultures.
The TCR team
Flute & Recorder
Bassoon & Composition
Composer / Jazz Trumpet
Find out what went on...
Click here to find out more about the start of our trip to Antigua and Barbuda. The team meeting for the first time, flying from Gatwick, landing in Antigua and being rushed straight to the radio station, meeting the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and reuniting with Her Excellency, Karen Mae-Hill, High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda.
All our photos from day 1 can be viewed here
From our first sunrise and the marine life of the Caribbean Sea, to the rhythmic heartbeats of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Find out about our first composition workshops, led by Reuben and Connor, exploring the innovative works of composer Pauline Oliveros. As preparations for the grand finale concerts at Weatherills Estate and Fisheries Complex on Barbuda are underway, the orchestra promises captivating performances. Also, our string quartet prepared for a special showcase on ‘Antigua and Barbuda Today’ TV show, alongside a pioneering teacher CPD event in composition. Stay tuned for more from this enchanting island journey! Click to read the full story.
Our first set of photos from day 2 can be viewed here.
We were so busy that our second set of photos can be viewed here.
Click here to find out about day 3. Packed with music and media appearances, we shone on ABS TV’s ‘Antigua and Barbuda Today’, where Ellen and Clarita detailed our musical journey and upcoming concerts. Our string quartet gave a touching rendition of “What a Wonderful World”. For local music teachers, Reuben, Ka Youn, and Alison led a professional development session to bolster composition teaching. At Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the trio introduced the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) to graphic scores, a novel musical notation method. Post-workshop, sections split to refine techniques, with a focus on creating ‘colours’ in music. Meanwhile, Peter, Ellen, and Connor chatted about our experiences on the radio show ‘We the People’. A taste of ‘Ting’, we embraced the local flavour. Day 3 seamlessly blended music, media, and culture. Excited for Day 4!
View our photos from day 3 here
The composers held a CPD session at the Antigua All Girls School in St. John’s, aiding teachers in inspiring their student’s composition using techniques like silence and body percussion. The afternoon brought a rehearsal with ABYSO, whose enthusiasm and talent continues to amaze. Workshops led by our composers focused on the creation of motifs, transforming mere notes into emotional melodies. Culinary delights awaited in the evening with the tasty local ‘Patty’, a spiced chicken-filled pastry. The day concluded with a recital by ABYSO Initials and Juniors, showcasing the promising future of Antiguan music.
Find out more by clicking here!
Click here for photos from day 4
Day 5 & 6
Our team’s projects spanned a vast musical spectrum. Divided into three groups: one deepened the Teachers’ CPD on musical composition, while the second explored Antigua and ABYSO rehearsals focusing on sound techniques. The third group, featuring Daniel Swanni, Emily Abbott, and Peter Banks, ventured to Barbuda, mentoring budding recorder players and introducing violin and cello training. Daniel, working with new recorder players, readied them for a concert, whilst Emily and Peter initiated Barbuda’s first string teaching programme, gifting the island its inaugural violins and cello. This promises to elevate the island’s musical and emotional landscape. The trip was enriched by local dishes, stunning beach views, and the mesmerising frigate bird colony. The team forged lasting connections, deeply moved by the locals’ passion for music.
Day 5 in photos can be viewed here
Photos of day 6 can be viewed here
Emily’s reflections on Barbuda
Daniel Swani, Peter Banks, and the Emily visited Barbuda with The Commonwealth Resounds. They aimed to teach recorder and violin to students and future tutors. At Holy Trinity school, they were impressed by the students’ quick grasp of the recorder. They also trained locals in violin basics near the Barbuda lagoon. Their trip was enriched by a tour of the island’s landmarks, including Uncle Ronnie’s restaurant and the famous Princess Diana beach. A visit to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary highlighted Barbuda’s natural wonders. The rapid musical progress and passion of the students left a lasting impression on the author, who anticipates a bright future for Barbuda’s classical music scene.
Click here to read her thoughts.
The iconic Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was alive with music and excitement on day 7. Our focus? Intensive rehearsals and composition workshops delving into film and jazz. The evening shifted to the Wetherills Estate, the venue for ABYSO’s upcoming concert. This stunning spot provided a breathtaking backdrop for our first run-through. The open-air setting challenged musicians to adapt acoustically, as outdoor performances can alter perceptions of sound. This hands-on experience was vital, helping refine our performance and stirring enthusiasm among the young musicians. Reflecting on the day, the growth of these budding artists was evident. As we inch closer to the concert, anticipation is palpable, and we’re raring to dazzle the audience.
Find out more by clicking here!
Click here for photos from day 7
The first ABYSO concert of the trip. The uniqueness of outdoor performances brought challenges for our students, demanding attentive listening. The musicians did not disappoint their audience. Their efforts were rewarded with enthusiastic applause, reflecting the audience’s genuine admiration. The day ended with a gathering at The Larder, where we enjoyed delightful dishes and rich conversations with the senior tutors of ABYSO. The dinner epitomised that the connections made during this journey surpassed just musical ties.
View our photos from day 8 here
The most challenging day ever? Barbuda hosted its first ever Symphony Orchestra concert, an event fraught with challenges from transporting equipment to weather setbacks. With the Governor General’s attendance and the ABYSO’s debut on Barbuda, the significance cannot be overstated. The young recorder ensemble’s performance was due, inspirational speeches, nature’s dramatic interruption, and an Abba rendition. What more could you ask for?
Despite the daunting task of packing up and braving rough seas, the team’s spirit was undeterred. The day, full of trials and triumphs, left an indelible mark. Was this the most challenging day ever?
Find out more by clicking here!
Click here for photos from day 9
A guest writer for today. The focus is keenly on composition. The concert’s programme grew throughout the week, ultimately featuring 14 diverse pieces that celebrated the island’s musical talent. ABYSO members presented unique compositions, with collaborative pieces highlighting the ensemble’s breadth. Including ‘Caribbean Fusions’. After many rehearsals, the evening concert was performed to a full house. Another first of a kind in Antigua it spotlighted the breadth and depth of ABYSO’s talent and dedication, making it an indelible musical memory.
View our photos from day 10 here