Emily Bear and Stefan Willich (centre) with World Doctors Orchestra
The stage settings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mount Fortune were transformed to facilitate a world class concert on January 22, put on by the World Doctors Orchestra, led by renowned musician, 20-year-old Emily Bear. By far, this would have been the most spectacular classical musical event in Anguilla’s history.
Established in 2008, the World Doctors Orchestra (WDO) is comprised entirely of medical doctors. The orchestra’s founder, Prof. Stefan Willich, established it as a non-profit group at the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany. The main mission of the World Doctors Orchestra is to combine music with its global medical responsibility. All proceeds from every concert performed by WDO go towards the aid of selected non-profit medical or music organisations.
One of the main organisers of Saturday’s grand event was Mrs. Janine Edwards. She is the co-owner of Sunset Homes, one of the platinum sponsors of the memorable concert. Mrs. Edwards moderated the programme, and after the pronouncement of necessary formalities, she remarked:
Premier Ellis Webster, Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and others
Conductor, Stefan Willich with World Doctors Orchestra
“Ladies and gentlemen, today Anguilla will witness a grand global musical celebration — musical excellence at its very best. You will witness a fine tapestry of exquisite musicians from all around the world, as well as our very own home. Today, you will journey with us through a range of emotions, reflections and human connections, created through the power of music.” And just as Janine had promised so it was.
One particular highlight at the commencement of the concert was the playing of the Anguilla National Song by the WDO. Like all their other pieces, they played with precision and superb orchestration, and no doubt their rendition would be considered the most pristine instrumental of “God Bless Anguilla” ever played. For the audience, it was a breathtaking moment of musical admiration, setting the stage to savour more.
Among the other pieces played by the WDO were: Romance in F Minor; Les Voyages; Fly Me to the Moon; Take the “A” Train; You’ve Got a Friend; He Never Failed me Yet; Every Note Played; and Peace, We Are the Future.
Mrs Janine Edwards and Mrs Samantha Boyce-Kentish
Mrs Veneshaw Richardson in performance
St. Augustine’s Chorale
Emily Bear, Omari Banks, Aliana Carty & Jaine Rogers in song
Apart from the classical musical pieces played by the 50-member orchestra, several others were rendered by local artists including Alaina Carty, Jaine Rogers, Amelia Vanterpool-Kubisch, Omari Banks, Veneshaw Richardson, Omalie360 and the Saint Augustine’s Chorale. All were backed up by the orchestra’s accompaniment, with Emily Bear on the piano.
Plans for Saturday evening’s performance were initiated three years ago. Emily, who visits Anguilla regularly, after Hurricane Irma, in 2017, sought to find one way of bringing comfort and healing to the minds of those affected, especially the Music Department of the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School.
According to Emily, “When we got this idea to stage a concert for the music sector of Anguilla’s schools, I called the WDO founder, Dr. Stefan Willich, and told him of our plans. He readily agreed to come to Anguilla and perform with the big band. That was some three years ago.”
“This orchestra is made up of working doctors from all over the world,” she noted. “For example, there is an anesthesiologist from Germany playing the flute; there is a cardiologist and a brain surgeon from California playing clarinets; we have doctors from South Africa who play various instruments, and the list of musical doctors goes on.”
Emily said, “Every single one of these doctors have been working on the frontline with Covid 19 cases for the past two-and-a-half years. (Applause from the audience.)
“These doctors come together in various locations, all over the world, and they put on a show. This year we are more than delighted to be playing in Anguilla for the pleasure of the Anguillian people, and for the benefit of the music programmes in school where our aid is needed.”
Mr. Lennox Vanterpool, Music Professor at ALHCS, Conductor, and a well-rounded musical maestro, had much to do with the organising of the event. He gave a synopsis of the origins of the WDO concert: “The concert was birthed out of a visit to the island of Mrs. Andrea Bear and her daughter, Emily, who came to Anguilla over four years ago. Emily needed a piano to practise on, and so her host contacted me. Well, when I heard her play, I was quite impressed for at the age of seventeen she played with the plum of a seasoned musician.
“I told her that we have a Steinway piano at the high school, and she was shocked and enthused about that. I introduced her to that instrument, and she was even kind enough to graciously give some lessons to our piano students.“Then, it was the following year, when she returned, that her mother, Andrea, along with their host, Janine Edwards, attended the Christmas cantata of the St. Augustine’s Chorale. Andrea was quite elated with our performance, and it was from there that the suggestion to bring the World Doctors Orchestra to the island surfaced. Since then, serious planning went into place. It was some heavy lifting, but ultimately we were successful in bringing the musical doctors to our shores.”
The organisers wish to thank all the sponsors of the concert.
The Platinum sponsors: Anguilla Music Academy Center; Sunset Homes; World Doctors Ochestra; C-Suite Business Counseling; Morlen’s School of Music and Emily Bear.
The Gold sponsors: Austin’s Violin Shop; Anguilla Community Foundation; Anguilla Tourist Board; Aurora Anguilla; 5-Star Media; Digicel; and INAnguilla.
The Silver sponsors: National Commercial Bank of Anguilla; International Wines and Spirits; Titanium Audio Visual; and Confetti Dust.
The Bronze sponsors included: Anguilla Social Security; Anguilla Development Board; BEP Services; Rotary Club of Anguilla; Tranquility Beach; Chinnicks; Lloyd’s Live, Malliouhana Auberge Resort; Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel; Best Buy; Nevaeh; Department of Youth and Culture; Gavin Jean; and Access.ai.
The event was streamed live on INAnguilla, Lloyd’s Live and Klean Stream.