Camana Bay’s 10-year-anniversary harmonises with the National Choir’s 40th Anniversary concert this month
For the past decade, music has been an integral part of the Camana Bay experience.
Audiences have been entertained by performers big and small – from local ensembles serenading outdoor diners and passersby on The Crescent, to global sensations belting out hit songs to more than 5,000 people on The Festival Green.
On 27 May, there will be another special musical performance in Camana Bay, one that will help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cayman National Choir in a concert that will also include the Cayman National Orchestra and Jamaican tenor Steve Higgins.
When Dr. Mel McCoy founded the Cayman National Choir in 1977, he had a vivid vision, singular in the pursuit of musical brilliance: to bring choral classical music to the Cayman Islands. Today, under the leadership of Musical Director Sue Horrocks, that vision has become a reality thanks to 50 beautiful and infinitely dedicated voices.
Performing often at Camana Bay’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting since 2007, the Choir has become part of a new, local tradition, warming hearts with the enchanting sounds of the holiday season every year.
“They always add to the magic of this iconic holiday event,” says Dart Real Estate President Jackie Doak. “The Cayman National Choir not only enriches our tree lighting experience, but they also captivate Camana Bay audiences with their outstanding performances every year.”
At Camana Bay, we recognise that music enhances the community experienceJackie Doak
As a volunteer-based, not-for-profit group, operating with no outside funding and relying on the commitment and enthusiasm of its members and local supporters, the amateur Choir is no stranger to professionalism. Having performed with the likes of the London Philharmonic Brass, soloists from The Julliard School and world-renowned conductors Wayne Marshall and Ronald Corp, the ensemble has reached soaring heights with their concerts and recitals.
Horrocks describes the Choir’s performance at the inaugural Cayman Arts Festival in 2004 as one of their most memorable. “We performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with Wayne Marshall conducting,” she says. “It was magical.”
Anyone familiar with the stormy cantata knows that it is thunderous, magnificent and complex – no easy feat to perform. Accustomed to working with professional musical ensembles who require less of their conductors, Wayne Marshall told Horrocks that it was “refreshing and exciting” to conduct a group that required much more of him, allowing him to make a big difference in how they responded and performed.
In 2013, the Choir presented Mozart’s Requiem alongside the Cayman National Orchestra and the London Chorus, this time with visiting conductor and composer Ronald Corp. “He was extremely impressed with our high standards,” says Horrocks of the British conductor.
More recently, they performed alongside the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s brass soloists. “The choir was on top form,” says Horrocks of their Cayman Arts Festival concert at Camana Bay in February 2016.
The Choir is expected to be on top form again during their 40th anniversary performances, the first of which takes place at Camana Bay’s Arts & Recreation Centre.
“I’m so thankful for all the hard work of our members and the Choir board, which will allow us to commemorate this milestone in a meaningful way,” says Horrocks. The second concert will take place in June at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
In addition to the Cayman National Choir, the Cayman National Orchestra has been a big part of Camana Bay’s musical history.
Led by Musical Director Jon Taylor, the Cayman National Orchestra was founded by Executive Musical Director Sue Horrocks in 2001. Today, they are comprised of volunteer members dedicated to bringing classical music to Cayman audiences with performances such as Beethoven’s Second Symphony, Rossini’s Overture, Fingal’s Cave and a variety of other classic symphonies and operas.
“I founded the orchestra after observing so many talented musicians on the island,” explains Horrocks. “As a flautist myself, I had played to accompany the National Choir and felt strongly that Cayman was capable of producing a National Orchestra. I wrote to the Governor at the time and the Cayman National Orchestra was born.”
The Orchestra is also well known for adding a dose of magic to Camana Bay during the annual Christmas concerts. This month, they will create harmonious bliss when they accompany the Choir during their 40th anniversary concert.
A DECADE OF MUSIC
For its entire 10 years, Camana Bay has embraced the world’s universal language and its many talented musicians, including the new performers seen and heard at the weekly Live Music Series as well as more seasoned acts.
One of the very first large-scale concerts at Camana Bay was Jazz Fest in 2009, headlined by Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys. Since then, visitors to the Town Centre have enjoyed a number of shows by local and international musicians from superstar R&B singer John Legend and reggae star Damian Marley, jazz prodigy Joey Alexander Trio and Canadian tribute band Classics in Concert to local bands such as Heat, 7 Miles Long and drumming trio Eden Hurlston, Damien Thaxter and Randy Chollette, as well as a number of Cayman Arts Festival concerts.
“Camana Bay loves music,” says Doak. “We invite performers of all genres from all corners of the globe, but we are especially proud to welcome the musicians who call Cayman home.”
The recently launched Live Music Series encourages local musicians to participate, providing exposure for the artists and an enjoyable experience for passersby. The Series takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays, 5pm-7pm on The Crescent. Scheduled is a line-up of diverse musical styles, from three-piece act Trinity, featuring a violinist, guitarist and drummer, to soloists and instrumental performances.
“At Camana Bay, we recognise that music enhances the community experience,” adds Doak. “And we truly believe in its power as a universal language and look forward to embracing music as an intrinsic part of our community for the
Camana Bay will continue its celebration of music as part of this year’s 10th anniversary activities. Music lovers are invited to stay tuned for upcoming events and concerts.
For more information on the upcoming Cayman National Choir 40th Anniversary Concert and other musical events visit camanabay.com/events.