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Arts and Culture 11 Mar, 2024 Follow News


The Cayman National Choir and Orchestra open their 2024 season with an enchanting concert which will include a blend of classical masterpieces and modern favourites that capture the essence of spring’s melodies. The audience will be thrilled by (Ola) Henszel, the international award winning flautist who will be performing the passionate Chaminade Concertino for flute.  Other highlights include Haydn’s triumphant Gloria, Edvard Grieg’s evocative Peer Gynt-Morning Mood and Ennio Morricone’s popular Nella Fantasia (the music from the film the Mission). The vibrant spirit of Spain is captured in Emmanual Chabrier’s orchestral suite Espana, and Khachaturian’s Masquerade Waltz tells the story of mistaken identity and tragedy.

The choir will be conducted by Melody Gifford, the deputy musical director of the choir. Melody holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from Penn State University and had the honour of conducting the AMIS Latin American Honor Choir in Quito, Ecuador. She is the choral music director at Cayman International School and is thrilled to have the opportunity to direct the Cayman National Choir this season.

Alina Makhina has been conducting the Cayman National Orchestra since September 2023. Alina was born in Russia, but at the age of fifteen came to England to study violin and piano at the Purcell School for young musicians. From there she won a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Music where she studied performing and conducting. Her passion for music education led her into teaching and she is now head of music at St. Ignatius.   

Alexsandra (Ola) Henszel is making her Cayman Islands debut. Ola is an award winning flautist who has performed at many of Europe’s most famous concert halls. Born in Poland she studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Two years later she was awarded a Master of Performance with distinction degree from the Royal College of Music, London. She recently performed with the RCM Chamber Orchestra at Buckingham Place at the invitation of HM King Charles 111. Ola has moved to the Cayman Islands to join the instrumental teaching team at the Sparks! School of Performing Arts.  

The Harquail Theatre has now become the permanent home of the Cayman National Choir and Orchestra (CNCO), allowing all rehearsals and concerts for the choir and the orchestra to be held at the Harquail complex. CNCO chair Sydney Coleman said, “We are excited to become part of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF). High rental costs for our rehearsal rooms had threatened our existence, but coming under the wing of the CNCF has given us an ideal rehearsal room and a substantial reduction in costs which will secure our future. The Harquail is the national home of the arts in Cayman, and we are thrilled to make this wonderful theatre the venue for our future concerts.”

Spring Fantasy will be at the Harquail, for one night only, at 7.30 on Friday 22nd March.  Tickets $30/10. Join us for an unforgettable evening. Book now! www.Eventpro.ky

Ola Hendszel is available for interview. For more information contact Graham Morse (345 925 6353). Email:  grahammorse80@gmail.com

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