Day 5 & 6 in Antigua

Over day 5 & 6, our team pushed the boundaries of our projects. Branching off into three separate groups, they covered a huge array of music and incredibly wide area of the islands.

Group one continued to work with the Teachers’ CPD, diving deeper into musical composition. During a relaxed morning, the rest of the team explored much of the island of Antigua, visited a local recording studio and made it to St John’s to wander round the old city. Following their wanderings, the second group continued with the ABYSO rehearsals. Working on sounds, colours and technique.

Starting with something completely new, the third group – Daniel Swanni, Emily Abbott, and Peter Banks – embarked on a different path, braving a very early wake-up call to board a boat – renowned for being rather rough – bound for the island of Barbuda. Their mission? To mentor a group of budding recorder players and to cultivate a new crop of violin and cello teachers.

Daniel was delighted to work with the recorder group, which had just embarked on their journey into playing the recorder together. Developing skills through games he carefully built their confidence and created new music for them to perform together. Over just one and a half days, he prepared them for their upcoming Sunday concert.

Emily and Peter, meanwhile, met with aspiring violin and cello teachers. They brough the first ever violins and a cello to the island. Their task was to lay the groundwork for a new string teaching programme on the island. It was a real pleasure to hand over the instruments to the new teachers and the energy in the room was extraordinary.

The potential for these teachers to bring music to Barbuda opens up a wealth of possibilities for the people. Increasing musical prosperity of an area has the potential to improve academic results, increase emotional awareness and build a quality of life. The enthusiasm of everyone involved was extraordinary and we were all humbled by the visit.

Staying overnight on Barbuda, we were treated to exquisite local cuisine and breathtaking views of the beaches. The highlight was a visit to the frigate bird colony.

We spent just a short amount of time on the Island of Barbuda, yet we feel we have made friends for life and seen the start of something really special. This moment in our lives will be something we remember forever. What stood out the most for all of us was the local enthusiasm for music.

See also, day 5 and day 6 in pictures.