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By Cécile Lucot
Cécile Lucot has lived in St. Barths for ten years. Originally from Bordeaux, this professional journalist was the editor-in-chief of St. Barth Magazine for six years. She then participated in the daily local mini-newspaper "Today" and writes regularly for regional magazines. Once or twice a month, she presents a recap of local news on St. Barths Online.
January 11' 2010 - #112

Rain And High Seas For The New Year

For the first time in several decades, the Port of Gustavia was empty on December 31. Strong sea swells from the north-northeast caused by a low-pressure system in the Atlantic as a result of winter storms that battered the United States during the week of Christmas forced port director Ernest Brin to close the ports to all pleasure boats and commercial marine traffic from December 28-January 2. With the arrival of the high waves, some reaching 9 to 12 feet, some of the boats were obliged to use their motors to maintain their positions at the dock on the night of Sunday, December 27 to Monday, December 28. The next day a few of the boats knocked against the dock, damaging their rear decks, while others ripped out mooring rings, and others were forced to cut mooring ropes that had pulled too tight. All of the boats were asked to leave the docks as quickly as possible and to anchor in the outer harbor, an operation which was tricky as the port had been full for the past week. For the end of the year festivities, the direction of the port noted that the first motor yachts arrived in mid-December and the port was usually full between December 26 and December 31, while this year the main docks—Quais de la République and Général de Gaulle—were full by December 21. There were a total of 289 boats in the harbor for New Year’s Eve, with slightly over 100 of them longer than 65 feet. A regular visitor, Ultima III, the 118’ motor yacht that belongs to American businessman Ron Perelman, made an appearance in the harbor as of December 25, while Jimmy Buffet’s Continental Drifter III took its usual spot by The Wall House. New this year was the surprising shape of the 134’ motor, Ocean Emerald, whose strange fish-like shape clad in slate gray represents the first yacht designed by acclaimed British architect Norman Foster.

People Watching in St-Barth

It’s an annual happening: the island hosts numerous celebrities who come to spend the holidays in the sun. Among others, this year’s crop included Marc Jacobs, artistic director of Louis Vuitton, former top model Linda Evangelista, actors Eddie Murphy and Hugh Jackman, as well as Tamara Mellon, co-founder of Jimmy Choo shoes. The new owner of the property along Gouverneur Beach, Roman Abramovitch organized a large party on New Year’s Eve, with a budget estimated between two to three million dollars. His party rivaled that at Nikki Beach, reserved for the occasion (as it was last year as well) by one of Gaddafi’s sons. Both of these hyper-private events had top name entertainment: singer Gwen Stephani in Gouverneur, while Beyoncé, who came to Saint Barth with her husband, rapper Jay-Z, sang for the crowd at Nikki Beach, as she did last year as well.

St Barth Music Festival 2010

The 26th annual St Barth Music Festival — January 12-20, 2010— has some spectacular concerts on tap. An opening night gift from festival director Frances Debroff, the first night’s Mozart concert on January 12 is free to the public. The program also includes the traditional opera evening on January 15, and on January 13, an orchestral concert features violinist Brian Lewis (a festival favorite for 12 years, and who helps the St Barth Harmony with its violin students) playing a Mendelssohn concerto for violin. The piano concert on January 14 showcases two celebrated pianists, Stephen Gosling and Jon Nakamatsu, winner of the Van Cliburn Prize, who will respectively play Gershwin’s famous “Rhapsody in Blue” and Beethoven’s “Emperor’s Concerto.” Two other highlights are the jazz concerts on January 16 with the Jason Marsalis Quarter, chamber music with The Miro Quartert on January 19, and the closing night concert French guitarist Eric Franceries on January 20.

Music Festival Schedule

Tuesday, January 12, 8:00pm - Catholic Church, Gustavia
Chamber Music, Mozart

Wednesday, January 13, 8:00pm - Catholic Church, Lorient
Orchestra Night, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Rossini

Thursday, January 14, 8:00pm - Catholic Church, Gustavia
Piano Recital, works by Beethoven and Gershwin

Friday, January 15, 8:00pm - Catholic Church, Lorient
Opera Night, famous and popular arias

Saturday, January 16, 7:00 and 9:00pm - Catholic Church, Gustavia
2 Jazz Concerts, with the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet

Sunday, January 17, 8:00pm - Eddy’s Restaurant, Gustavia
Annual Benefit Dinner, featuring festival musicians

Tuesday, January 19, 8:00pm - Anglican Church, Gustavia
The Miró Quartet, performing Haydn and Beethoven

Wednesday, January 20, 8:00pm - Catholic Church, Gustavia
Guitar Concert, Eric Franceries, plus La Chorale des Bons Cœurs

For additional information: www.stbartsmusicfestival.org

More to come

  Cécile Lucot

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