Music lovers were treated to a Royal Variety Concert on Friday 30 October, seven and a half months since the concert was postponed after the dress rehearsal on Friday 13 March due to the Covid 19 lockdown. Musical directors Sue Horrocks and Jonathan Taylor welcomed three hundred music lovers and reminded them how uniquely lucky we are in Cayman to be able to gather together in such a large numbers. They promised them a range of music with a broadly based royal theme.
And they were not disappointed. Over seventy musicians and singers were on stage together to perform Handel’s rousing classics, Zadok the Priest and the Hallelujah Chorus. The choir under musical director Sue Horrocks, slowed the tempo with the traditional Skye Boat Song, and showed the breadth of their repertoire with Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) and Queen by Abba. The orchestra also mixed classical and popular with music by William Walton and Grieg, and John Williams and Duke Ellington. Their delightful medley of songs by the King (Elvis) certainly had feet tapping for both young and old.
A highlight of the evening was the world premiere of a work composed by Charles Henderson, a 15 year old student at St Ignatius who studies composition under Jonathan Taylor. Taylor said, “I knew he was going to be something special when I began teaching him in year 7. He had written at the top of his score: symphony number one! I told him if he could write it, the National Orchestra would play it!”
The piece which Henderson was commissioned to write for the concert, titled HRH, has a majestic motif, with varied textures and instrumentals effects taking us on a journey with a recurring theme.
“He has an unusual talent,” said Taylor. “It takes huge commitment and skill to write the score for a full orchestra. To hear it played for a large audience will have inspired him and encourage the young musical talent we have coming though the schools.” Key orchestra positions at the concert were held by six under eighteen year old students.
The audience left with a feeling of well-being, humming tunes and happier than when they came in. Many were loyal supporters, but there were new faces, some who had never heard a live orchestra before. They were astounded by the magical sound and vowed to come back.
The next performance of the Cayman National Choir and Orchestra is a Christmas Concert at Elmslie Memorial Church on 8 and 10 December, starting at 7.30. No tickets required.