President’s Report for the
NMS 50th Anniversary Concert Season
The Nassau Music Society (NMS) stands proudly on its legacy and looks to the future with excitement and optimism.
NMS is a non-profit organization, founded by E. Clement Bethel with a mission to “promote and encourage the art of music by organizing concerts and other musical activities, and to provide financial and other assistance to students of music.”
The 50th Anniversary Concert Season lived up to the NMS mission in epic form by showcasing world-class international artists, creating educational and performance opportunities for local musicians and students, celebrating our historical roots and becoming more relevant and connected to our local community.
There is much to be proud of: ten scheduled concerts, two pop-up concerts, separate collaborations with The Bahamas National Youth Choir, The Bahamas International Film Festival, the Royal Bahamian Police Force Band, and The Bahamas National Trust, as well as well as a free Children's Concert and an All-Bahamian Extravaganza Season Finale Concert.
On the education and outreach side NMS awarded $15,000 in scholarships and grants to Bahamian musicians and music students, completed a 10-year $80,000 scholarship program with University of The Bahamas, extended the NMS-GSO Student Enrichment Program for a second season, presented Classical Sonic Safari, a free age-appropriate classical music concert for primary school children, and conducted numerous master-classes, workshops and seminars (Attach 2).
In many ways, last season was a celebration of our historical roots, local community and NMS efforts to remain relevant, vibrant, and connected. As part of our 50th Anniversary, we began a new tradition of inducting honorary life-time members in recognition of contributions to music in The Bahamas, celebrating Ralph Munnings and Peanuts Taylor as our 50th Anniversary inductees.
We extended our partnerships with The Current: Baha Mar Gallery & Art Center, the Lyford Cay International School, and Glinton Sweeting O’Brien, having completed successful first seasons with all three.
We continued to strengthen our relationship with the University of The Bahamas Music Department: UB music students volunteered their time to assist with concert support and stage management and have come to be a valuable part of our team; we look forward to working with them again next season. Additionally, the University generously provided masterclass and workshop space, the UB Concert Choir performed for us twice to great popular acclaim, and several outstanding students and professors either opened our concerts or performed alongside our visiting international artists.
In an effort to raise our profile, maintain visibility and connect with our local community, NMS sent out regular newsletters, developed an active Facebook page and participated in Jollification at The Bahamas National Trust for the first time. We also used the artwork of local visual artist Natascha Vazquez as a background for our concert posters, promotional material and website. Her artwork was also featured on a stunning 50th Anniversary Commemorative Brochure, created, with Alden Chisholm and CineView Media Productions, that, with the support of all the participating advertisers, paid for itself and contributed to the 50th Anniversary grant and scholarship offerings.
We are grateful to the sponsors of our 50th Anniversary Season: Colina, our primary sponsor, and RoyalStar Assurance who have supported us for many years; M&E Limited, Glinton Sweeting O’Brien and Lyford Cay International School, returning sponsors for the second year, and also Alexiou & Associates, Klonaris & Co., Holowesko Pyfrom Fletcher, and Whittingham Design Consultants. Thank you for supporting our mission and for trusting us with your corporate image. We also extend our thanks to The Charitable Arts Foundation for the grant towards Classical Sonic Safari, Young’s Fine Wine for generously donating our concert intermission wine and The Current for the use of their spectacular gallery space. Our restaurant partners at Baha Mar and out West continued to support us with special offers on the evenings of our concerts.
Throughout the season, we have sought to be financially responsible; focusing on digital promotion and away from printed advertisements and posters; promoting the Bahamas as a destination venue to our artists, and encouraging the Executive Board and NMS members to house visiting artists where possible.
Last but not least, the hard-working Board is due a well-deserved vote of thanks in recognition for the all the hard work and dedication it demonstrated in the lead up to and throughout the 50th Anniversary Season. The epic celebration of our 50th milestone involved a tremendous amount of work and would not have been possible without everyone's involvement and support. I thank each and every one of you for your hard work and commitment over the past year. Our success would not have been possible without you.
In closing, NMS is a community of the Board, its members, sponsors, partner organisations, students and musicians, all connected by a shared passion for music and its transformative power. Despite challenges faced by arts organisations across the world we seek to remain relevant and vibrant in our presentation of world class music events and commitment to our local community and the next generation of musical talent.
There is a lot to be proud of and we are excited for our second half century!
Cynthia Van Wynen
President & Executive Director
NMS Education & Outreach Initiatives
50th Anniversary Concert Season
Awarded over $15,000 in Scholarships & Grants:
> $5,000 scholarship to Morgan Hanna to complete her Associate of Music
degree at The University of The Bahamas. (The award to Ms. Hanna
completes a ten-year $80,000 Scholarship Programme with the
University of The Bahamas.)
> $1,500 grant to Rashad Cunningham as a contribution towards the
purchase of a set of handbells for E.P. Roberts Primary School and
> $1,500 grant to Stefan Thompson as a contribution towards tuition at
Boston Conservatory at Berklee to complete a Masters in Music
> Piano Tuning Scholarship - B'Angelo Cartwright
> Trumpet - Justin Smith, C.V. Bethel High School
> Trombone - Kelstson Hall, C.V. Bethel High School
> Alto Saxophone - Lynden Sands, Royal Bahamas Police Force Band
> Four Ludwig Percussion Kits, Ferron Antoinette Ingraham, Lewis Yard
Primary School, Grand Bahama
> Four Boomaphone Whackpacks, Pauline Addereley-Blenman, Samuel Guy
PInder All Age School, Spanish Wells, Eleuthera
> Four Boomaphone Whackpacks, Portia Michelle Kemp, Preseton H. Albury
High School, Eleuthera
Extended the NMS-GSO Student Enrichment Program with Glinton Sweeting O’Brien for a second season, welcoming students from Temple Christian High School, Government High School, St. Anne’s School, Anatol Rogers High School, South Haven
Christian Academy and C.V. Bethel Senior High School to our Sunday afternoon concerts.
Conducted separate Vocal and Low Brass masterclasses with visiting professionals Dr. Christopher Sierra and Thomas Elliott respectively. University of The Bahamas. May 2019
Conducted jazz vocal and piano masterclasses with visiting artists Jacqui Naylor and Art Khu at The University of The Bahamas. March 2019
Facilitated, with The Embassy of Cuba in The Bahamas and The Rotary Club of East Nassau, workshops with visiting percussionist Eduardo Cordova. In two separate sessions, Mr. Cordova worked with students from South Haven Christian Academy and also members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band. February 2019
Promoted a music workshop and training session for the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band with flautist Rowland Sutherland. The RBPFB subsequently performed with Sutherland at The Current, Baha Mar. February 2019
Presented “Classical Sonic Safari!” - A free, age-appropriate classical music concert, enriched with poetry and visual art, for 350 primary school students and their teachers from 15 public and private schools across New Providence. (Made possible in part with a grant from The Charitable Arts Foundation.) January 2019
Conducted two successful Masterclasses (Piano, with Alexander Kraft Van Ermel and Film, with Alaric Smeets) at The University of The Bahamas. Ezekiel Thompson, an outstanding masterclass participant and UB student, opened the concert at St. Paul’s. November 2018
Continued the “Artist in Residence” program for a second year at Lyford Cay International School (LCIS) with soprano Nicole Jordan, culminating in an Opera and Choral extravaganza featuring students from LCIS, the University of the Bahamas Chamber Choir, and members of Bel Canto Singers. October 2018
Supported and underwrote the “Benefit Concert for UB Music Student Scholarships”, enabling UB Music Department Faculty to offer three recruitment scholarships to incoming music students. September 2018
Sponsored a segment of “Bahamas at Sunrise” featuring violinists from the Bahamas Music Academy who were winners in the 60th E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival. August 2018.
Continued the collaboration with Classical 98.1 by sponsoring the only classical music radio station in The Bahamas.