Day 2 in Antigua

Hello from Antigua! Day 2 greeted us with a stunning sunrise, the perfect remedy for the lingering jetlag that had everyone up and about by 4 a.m.! Luckily, the soothing blues of the Caribbean Sea were waiting for us. After an early morning dip, the aroma of a delightful Antiguan breakfast wafted across the beach, fresh mango is definitely the perfect start to a day.

As we bobbed and swam in the crystal-clear water, we soon discovered we had company. To our delight, we spotted a stingray, gliding with a gracefulness that was captivating to witness. Nearby, a Caribbean cushion starfish lay on the sandy floor, its bright colour a striking contrast to the pale seabed, serving as a wonderful reminder of the vibrant and diverse life beneath the sea’s surface.

Revitalised by our morning swim, we redirected our focus to the day’s musical exploits. In the afternoon, our driver Charles ferried us to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, a place usually echoing with the excitement of cricket, but today, it hummed with a different kind of rhythm. The Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO) was deep into their rehearsal when we arrived, their dynamic music filling the air with an electrifying energy.

We dispersed into our respective sections – strings, wind, brass, and percussion – each group dedicated to refining their parts, the stadium reverberating with the harmonies of each instrument in practice. The high point of our afternoon was a composition workshop led by our own Reuben and Connor. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for music were contagious, guiding us through the intricate process of composing and fine-tuning a musical piece. We were introduced to an experimental piece by the innovative composer, Pauline Oliveros. This immersive, exploratory composition tested our boundaries, and performing it together fostered a deeper connection amongst us and with the music.

As the afternoon sun cast longer shadows, we reconvened as a full orchestra, prepping for the forthcoming concerts. Under Maestro Roland’s baton, we practised for the performances on the 15th of July at the grand Weatherills Estate and the 16th at the Fisheries Complex on Barbuda. The orchestra is evidently in excellent shape and eager for the grand finale performances just a few days away.

Upon our return to the hotel, our string quartet assembled to prepare a special performance for the breakfast TV show ‘Antigua and Barbuda Today’ on ABS Television the following morning. It’s a thrilling chance for some of our string players to put together something fresh and new. Tomorrow also sees the first ever teacher CPD event for composition within Antigua. We’re looking forward to sharing more about these exciting developments tomorrow!