Festival To Include Songs Of Settlers Of Bermuda

January 2, 2016

The Williamsburg Symphonia will make its debut international appearance at the 41st annual Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts in January, joining artists from around the world for the performance, which will include a piece specially commissioned for the festival titled ‘The Sea Venture: Songs of the Early Settlers of Bermuda and Jamestown.’

The performance will take place on January 29, with an 18-piece ensemble from the Symphonia performing at the Earl Cameron Theater.

A story in the Virginia Gazette says, “The performance features a piece specially commissioned for the festival, “The Sea Venture: Songs of the Early Settlers of Bermuda and Jamestown.”

“What I’m doing with the music is telling the story of the voyage,” said composer Mike Williamson, a Williamsburg resident. The composition took Williamson about two months.

“In 1609, the Sea Venture, an English supply ship headed to Jamestown Settlement, encountered a violent storm and ran aground in Bermuda. The 150 passengers survived, including Captain Christopher Newport and John Rolfe.

“They found Bermuda to be a very hospitable place,” Williamson said. They stayed, building two ships and continuing to Virginia in 1610.

“In five movements, each around three minutes long, “The Sea Venture” flows through elements of the voyage: sailing aboard the ship, surviving the storm, entering a new land. Williamson incorporated period music, snippets from Tchaikovsky’s “The Tempest” and “Bermuda is Another World,” a song popular in Bermuda.”

“It’s so fun, and fits our orchestra very well,” Hymes said. “It’s a great, great gift for the island.”

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