Cayman Arts Festival opens

John Gray High School music teacher Naomi Allnutt leads the Junior String Ensemble chosen from participants of the After School Instrumental Programme, in a performance of a Caymanian folk songs during the opening reception of the 2016 Cayman Art Festival at Government House on Wednesday.

The Cayman Arts Festival 2016 officially opened Wednesday night with a reception hosted by Governor Helen Kilpatrick at her residence at Government House.

The reception, which was attended by more than 200 people, included a two-song performance by the Cayman Youth Choir and a three-song performance by the Junior String Ensemble chosen from students currently participating in the RBC Wealth Management After School Instrumental Programme.

“We thank them for those wonderful performances,” said the festival’s artistic director, Glen Inanga. “They are an example of what the Cayman Arts Festival is really all about.

Now in our twelfth year, we are proud to say we are constantly challenged responding to ways in which we can fulfill our mission to entertain, inspire and educate.”

The 10-day festival features a variety of international and local musicians, as well as visual art at several different Grand Cayman venues.

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“The Cayman Arts Festival is unique in the level of collaboration it achieves between local resident artists and visiting artists,” Mr. Inanga said, noting that two “fringe” events next week build on partnerships with Cayman’s Visual Arts Society and the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.

This year’s festival runs through Feb. 26 and features five main events, starting with the soloists of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, who performed with the Cayman National Choir on Thursday night at First Baptist Church.

The Cayman Youth Choir sings ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ during the Cayman Arts Festival opening reception. – Photos: Alan Markoff
The Cayman Youth Choir sings ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ during the Cayman Arts Festival opening reception. – Photos: Alan Markoff

Other main events include violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn performing with Mr. Inanga Saturday night; the “Rising Stars” event that features performances from local residents selected as finalists in the Butterfield Young Musician of the Year competition; a sold-out performance of the Joey Alexander Trio on Feb. 25; and the rhythms of Moroccan-born percussionist Mokhtar Samba and his band on Feb. 26.

Although the Joey Alexander Trio concert is sold out, the 12-year-old child prodigy from Indonesia, who performed at the Grammy Awards this past Monday night in Los Angeles, will also perform for Cayman’s school students at the First Baptist Church at 11 a.m. next Thursday.

There will also be three free educational workshops and master classes for brass, percussion and string instruments at the St. Ignatius School music room during the festival.

“This is where the real magic happens as these students get to work with specialists in their instruments who are able to provide them with feedback whilst inspiring them at the same time,” Mr. Inanga said. “I am proud to see how over the years the level of performance amongst our students has grown tremendously.”

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