Some preparations to Belize City’s Memorial Park had to be made to accommodate a large symphony orchestra and an audience of over 1,000 music lovers, but hey, it was kind of a big deal…
When it was announced that the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, also known as the YOA, would be putting on a two hour show in Belize on August 4, those in charge of such things jumped to accommodate the larger than usual number of performers and listeners. And rightly so.
The YOA is a huge multicultural symphonic orchestra made up of musicians hailing from twenty different countries across the western hemisphere, giving it every right to be called world class.
In addition to fostering great music, the YOA is also on an important mission, which they state is:
“To bring together energetic, talented musicians to pursue excellence and celebrate cultural diversity as a catalyst for social change.
The statement goes on to note that;
“In ten years, YOA has become an international brand by bringing renowned artists— from Yo-Yo Ma to Paquito D’Rivera, from Plácido Domingo to Philip Glass— into the lives of young musicians and diverse audiences.”
What’s not to like? Supporting artists to join together in creating great music as a vehicle to foster better global relations and bring about social change.
And, for the first time, a Belizean violinist, Courtney Gillett, is part of the YOA Orchestra. Ms Gillett recently returned from the prestigious Julliard School of Music in Boston, USA, and as a hometown hero has more than a few fans taking advantage of hearing a recognised Belizean virtuoso playing in such distinguished company.
It also interesting that the YOA program stresses that the participating musicians share their experiences and the knowledge they gained working with people from so many other countries when they return home, creating a ripple effect that continues long after the last note of the tour is played. The YOA is also a great networking tool for young musicians to learn about educational and professional employment opportunities around the world.
Once again we see the power of music to bring people together and contribute towards making the world a better place.
With a recent successful international film festival, the Garifuna Collective music group currently selling out venues across the US and Canada and more and more people discovering Belizean music, art, film and other unique creative cultural expressions, Belize continues to prove that it’s more than just a pretty face with a very strong environmental and social conscience – it is a place where things are happening.
We’ll keep you informed…
Photo credit: National Youth Orchestra and Choir of Belize