America Cantat 8 is the premier cultural music festival of the Americas and is the only non-competitive choir festival to unite singers, conductors, and festival choirs from North, Central and South America.
Senior Manager of Culture and Heritage, Dr. Cleveland Williams said events such as this exist to improve the quality of The Bahamas brand.
“When an event such as the America Cantat 8 comes to The Bahamas, it does a lot for the cultural landscape in The Bahamas,” Williams said.
“There’s a niche market for cultural tourism and I think these type of activities will help to build a better Bahamas and to give our young people something to aspire for.”
Participating Bahamian choirs include Bel Canto Singers, National Youth Choir, COB, Concert Choir and Highgrove Singers.
Choral groups from Estonia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Cuba, and Canada are also in town for the event and will be performing throughout the week
Festival Development Director at American Choral Directors Association Eden Badgett, said The Bahamas is the perfect place to have an event such as the American Cantat.
“Choral music is wonderful, it unites people and when you bring it to a place that is as beautiful, welcoming and exciting as The Bahamas with the people being so warm to us, nothing could be better,” Badgett said.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchombe said the America Cantat 8 serves as a gateway for music to be used as a marketing tool.
“The chorale has brought young people to The Bahamas, these young people serve as the voice of our country, they will speak to what they’ve discovered, they will speak to the fact that music is a universal language,” Wilchcombe said.
Minister Wilchcombe also added that The Bahamas should start using Junkanoo as its own unique marketing tool to draw more visitors to its shores.
“We have to include Junkanoo in more of what we do because it’s a marketing tool – it is so distinctive,” he said.
Visiting choir director of the Hamilton Children’s Choir Zimfira Poloz said the America Cantat 8 is much more than choirs singing, it’s about sharing and learning from each other.
“This event is wonderful as it’s all about friendship, it’s all about music, it’s about children. I think it’s so wonderful when children come from around the world to sing together,” she said.
“It’s a magical moment when they become friends and you can see their smiles as they share their songs. They want to teach each other, they learn names and they make music instead of war.”
The Ministry of Tourism also hosted the children for a few hours to show them what growing up in The Bahamas is like. The kids came together to play musical chairs, build kites, hula hoop, and ring play.
Senior Manager of Industry Training Ruthann Rolle said the cultural exchange is simply about creating unforgettable experiences for guests.
“What we’re doing here is exploring all of our cultural games, the ones we enjoyed as children. The ones that kept us on the cutting edge and what’s important is sustainability, by bringing it out here and sharing it with our visitors, we are enjoying it ourselves,” she said.
“It’s all about guest satisfaction when they come here all we can give them is the experience. I always tell people that the product of The Bahamas is in the performance of its people.”
During the 10 days, participants will not only provide free concerts to the public but they will also participate in workshops and take part in cultural exchanges.
The festival includes seven days of free concerts at various churches throughout Nassau. Mid-day concerts will be held at 1:30p.m. to 3:00p.m. The evening concerts will kick off at 8:00 p.m.