Jonathan Taylor, musical director of the Cayman National Orchestra, has launched an appeal to encourage more musicians to join.
He recently announced an open rehearsal on 8 Sept. for those who may be interested in finding out more about the group, and hopefully some will subsequently choose to sign up.
Since Taylor became musical director in 2017, the ensemble has grown substantially in numbers. In addition to attracting more players, a generous donation has enabled the purchase of a full set of orchestral percussion instruments, allowing the CNO to perform more professional and advanced music. The orchestra has a wide repertoire and can now guarantee sellout concerts which offer an extraordinary experience for audience members.
“The orchestra is a very fragile thing,” said Taylor. “The transient nature of the Cayman Islands means that our membership is constantly at risk, as emerging Caymanian musical youth talents go overseas to further their education. We want to encourage our youth orchestra to work hard so that they can reach the standard needed to fill the gaps.”
He went on to say that his ambition is to expand the orchestra to provide the depth of a full symphony orchestra of 60-plus musicians. “Whilst awareness of the Cayman National Choir and Orchestra is constantly spreading throughout the community, we’re all too often surprised to hear how many people don’t even know we exist,” Taylor said. “There are some excellent musicians hiding in the woodwork who I am sure would enjoy playing with us and be a great asset. We would love to hear from competent string players, including violin, viola, cello and double bass, as well as French horn, oboe and bassoon players.”
As part of the appeal, Taylor is inviting any musicians who play these instruments and are interested, to come and watch and/or partake in the open rehearsal. “We hope it will give them a chance to meet me and members of the orchestra, give them a taste of what we do, and a chance to assess their own abilities. And, of course, we hope they will bring their instruments.”
The orchestra holds several concerts throughout the year, sometimes in combination with the Cayman National Choir. In 2018, ‘West End at the Westin’ featured music from award-winning shows such as ‘Les Misérables’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Oliver’ and ‘Miss Saigon’. In 2019, it was ‘Fiesta’, which celebrated Spanish and Latin American pieces, ranging from Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ to the Argentinean tango.
In 2020, ‘A Royal Variety Performance’ brought the magic of Handel and Walton – as well as modern artists like Queen – to a packed house. In April 2021, it was ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ that delighted guests at the Harquail Theatre, with music about animals, both current and prehistoric.
Auditions were held on 7 Aug. for upcoming concert performances of ‘The Sound of Music’ at the Prospect Playhouse, featuring the choir and orchestra along with special guest singers. The shows are scheduled for 15-18 Sept.
Aside from themed events, the festive season is an annual highlight on the orchestra’s calendar, with a holiday concert held in Elmslie Memorial Church to get people in the Christmas spirit. The orchestra and choir perform together, and always to a capacity audience.
There is no question that the orchestra keeps busy throughout the year and brings joy to all who attend its concerts. Taylor hopes that other musicians will see the benefit of joining in, so he can realise his dream of taking it to the next level.
|The open rehearsal is at 7:30pm on 8 Sept. at the CNCO rehearsal room (the green ‘KAABOO’ building on West Bay Road, next to Grand Pavilion). Those musicians who are interested in attending are asked to register by email at [email protected], including a bit of information about themselves and what instrument(s) they play. Learn more at caymanchoirandorchestra.com, on Facebook or Instagram, or watch videos of recorded performances on YouTube.