Ruth is currently mid-Atlantic on her way to Antigua with a suitcase full of trumpets, French horns, oboes and conductors’ batons to start the island’s first Youth Symphony Orchestra.
She’s also posted a brand new set of timpani to arrive when she does – another first for the Caribbean island which doesn’t have a music shop.
It’s all part of Dissenters’ ongoing support for the islands following their devastation by Hurricane Irma in 2017. We raised £5,000 towards the Rebuild Barbuda Appeal at our Tubular Bells concert in October.
St Matthias is the parish church in London of the Antigua Barbudian community and since we moved here, we have forged close relationships with the congregation and Ruth has developed a great friendship with Her Excellency the Antiguan High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill, herself a talented musician who guest conducted in that concert.
As well as kick-starting the orchestra, Ruth’s two-week trip involves giving masterclasses to Antigua’s choral conductors and then bringing them altogether in a massed rehearsal. She is working with the islands’ Governor General St Rodney Williams and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
“I am honoured and privileged to be part of rebuilding these islands,” says Ruth. “At first I thought my involvement was simply a question of helping to reconstruct homes. I never imagined I’d be enhancing young people’s musical lives.”
The finale will be Ruth’s appearance as guest conductor Antigua’s Playing to Inspire 2 concert.
The event features the world-renowned Kanneh-Mason family from Nottingham. The seven gifted classical music playing brothers and sisters were described recently by Simon Cowell as the most talented family in the world after performing recently on Britain’s Got Talent.
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