February 6, 2006 - #56
The 22nd edition of the St. Barth Music Festival was held last month and the charm of the three-week event still lingers in the air. A total of 62 musicians and 8 dancers took part in a wide variety of programs. Frances DeBroff, violinist and co-founder of the festival, and her daughter, Jill, are proud to have convinced the Ballets Grandiva to come and perform. This male comedy dance company (who dress as diva ballerinas) recently appeared on the cover of ‘Dance Magazine’ and are known worldwide for their “travesty” of classic ballet. Leonard Nimoy, also known far and wide for his role as Captain Spock on Star Trek, was part of the festival for the second time, appearing as the narrator of “A Soldier’s Story,” accompanied by a quartet of two violins, a cello and piano, in the Anglican Church on January 15. Seven years ago, he narrated “Peter and the Wolf.” Another celebrated artist that was part of the festival this year is Dan Piraro, an American cartoonist and humorist who appeared with two doggie hand puppets as part of the children’s concert on January 22 when the young musicians on the island take center stage. Piraro’s cartoon strip, “Bizarro” is syndicated in over 200 newspapers around the world. Dan was also the emcee at the benefit dinner held at Eddy’s restaurant, and for which all profits go to the organization of the festival.
The 2006 edition ran for three weeks, opening on January 7 & 8, at AJOE with two dance concerts, and closing on Wednesday, January 25 with two jazz concerts. In between, there was a program of classical music concerts scheduled so that musicians could come from around the world and have time to rehearse before each concert. A real crowd pleaser was the Pops concert, followed by an evening of chamber music, a music lover’s concert, and an evening of opera with highlights from “Carmen,” and “Aida.” A symphonic concert included wonderfully fresh interpretations of Ravel’s “Bolero,” and Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.” The festival closed with two sold-old concerts by John Ellis Quartet, led by John Ellis on saxophone, and on drums Jason Marsalis, who had played previously in Saint Barth 1998 and in 2000 with his group, the Jason Marsalis Quartet. Another “first” this year was a festival poster designed in part by children. In past years, the festival organizers asked a local artist for a painting that was used as the festival poster. This year, a series of designs by children who study painting with Zaza Noah, were assembled to create a unique poster.
Le trompettiste Paul Merkelo, la soprano Jane Thorngren et le chef d’orchestre Alex Klein.)
St. Barth Shuttle: New Transport Service
The St. Barth Shuttle started running on Monday, January 30. Four small buses with eight seats each are running seven days a week, from 9:00am to 1:00am along two different routes. The first leaves Gustavia and heads toward the windward side of the island, as far as Toiny via St. Jean, Lorient, Pointe Milou, and Grand Cul-de-Sac. The second route leaves Gustavia in the direction of Flamands, Anse des Cayes and St. Jean. By simply calling the Shuttle, it will pick up or drop off individuals (who already have a ticket in hand) anywhere along the route. The drivers will also take detours to drop passengers off at other destinations, as long as the roads are accessible to the buses. This kind of service has been desired for a long time by the tourism sector, as many visitors find the roads too narrow or dangerous, and it can be difficult to find a place to park in Gustavia. The main goal is to serve tourists who don’t want to drive in Saint Barth, or to provide them with a comfortable and easy way to go shopping or out to dinner. The St. Barth Shuttle is also accessible to residents who can purchase an unlimited monthly pass. Tickets are on sale at hotel reception desks, at Saint Barth Service, in certain boutiques and restaurants on the island, and at the St Barth Shuttle offices.
More to come