Classical music festival in the works

A new music festival could soon be on the cards for Barbados.

Efforts are underway to introduce a full classical music festival to fill a gaping void for lovers of classical and sacred music.

It’s the brainchild of public relations officer of the Belle Voci Cantanti Norton Brewster who tells Bajan Vibes the festival could become a reality next October.

Brewster is hoping that two premier musical events set for this week will stir up interest and raise awareness of classical music and set the stage for the proposed music festival.

“It’s more or less the beginning of what we hope will be an annual event – the Classical Music Festival. I am thinking there is a Reggae Festival, Gospelfest, there are a lot of the other festivals, why not classical music?” he said.

Tomorrow, Belle Voci Cantanti and the St Peter’s Parish Church present An Evening at the Organ featuring renowned American church and recitalist organist William Bill Randolph Jr, along with Justin Dehnert, a young American church organist.

Randolph, who is the director of music and organist at the Church of the Intercession in New York and adjunct organist at Columbia University, said he’s excited to be in
Barbados which has produced outstanding organists.

William Randolph
William Randolph

“I have met some organists that have come from the island and excelled in the United States – Samuel Springer, Sean Jackson – top class musicians; they are major musicians.”

The event is a tribute to three of Barbados’ most accomplished church organists – Dr John Fletcher, the late Gerald Hudson and the late F. Bentley Callender – who are noted for their significant contribution to the tradition of Anglican Church music in

“You have a history of great church organists on the island . . . who will be honoured at these recitals . . . Each of them has inspired me in one shape or form,” Randolph said.

In addition to Randolph’s performance, a number of young local talents will be exposed, including Akhanni Drakes, Zaheer Popo and Neil Grogan.

“I will have the privilege of listening to some of the young organists of Barbados. I am looking forward to hearing them and critiquing their music and their progress,” the recognized organist said.

On Sunday, Randolph will stage his recital at the St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church at Voices of Classical Music which will feature the island’s leading chorale groups in honour of the late Doris Provencal and the late Colin Norville.

“I hope that the performances that I do will inspire more people to study the organ,” he said.

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