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World renowned Bahamian musician returns home for concerts
Friday, 27 January 2012 07:53

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- During the month of February, the Grand Bahama Youth Choir (GBYC) will celebrate its 3rd year anniversary, featuring world renowned musical artists Jack Foley and Franz Hepburn. While the weekend two-night event, promises to be an evening of classical elegance and diverse vocal styles, it will also feature a son of the soil, Mr. Franz Hepburn.

Artistic Director for the GBYC Program, Mr. Kevin Tomlinson noted that he was excited to hear of Mr. Hepburn’s connection to Freeport, “Having the Foley & Hepburn duo perform here in Freeport was great, but to learn that he is a former scholarship recipient of the The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited, (GBPA) and his many professional accomplishments, sends a clear message to the choir’s young membership, that commitment and hard work pays off,” he said.  “It shows that, if they remain focused and disciplined, opportunities which lie ahead are endless. This will be an immeasurable experience for the group and we are excited.”

Aside from music, Mr. Hepburn’s background is steeped in the nation’s number one industry, and this he shared began in Freeport.  “I have many relatives who are Grand Bahamians and I have fond memories of spending numerous summer holidays in Freeport,” Hepburn commented. “GBPA granted me a scholarship in 1984, which allowed me the opportunity to attend Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing & Finance, I went on to work at the National Insurance Board (NIB). Within three years, I was promoted to Senior Inspector, one of the youngest ever promoted to that position at NIB,” he continued.

Later, moving into the tourism sector, Hepburn would enjoy a life of learning, and notable promotions for his dedication and hard work. These include Sales Manager, then Regional Manager for the Bahamas Tourist Office two years later; followed by UK Sales Manager for Sun International and later European Development Manager for the Bahamas tourist office in 2003. With these promotions came the opportunity for travel to places like Dubai, Mauritius and South Africa. These, Hepburn stated, gave him a deeper understanding of The Bahama’s tourism product.

“In 1999 I wanted to have a much deeper understanding of other aspects of the travel and tourism industry, and, working as UK Sales Manager for Sun International, who owned Atlantis Paradise Island at that time, provided me opportunity to travel to countries including Dubai, Mauritius and South Africa, where they owned resorts.  I must admit that my experiences with tourism were wonderful and gave me greater insight into The Bahamas’ tourism product,” he states.

In 2003 by chance of a life changing event, Hepburn decided to leave one passion (the tourism industry) in pursuit of another. Following a major surgery, he resigned from tourism and began to dedicate more time toward his music development.

“Having gone through that medical process, I realised that my music development was being neglected.  My whole philosophy in life changed!  In 2004, I resigned from the Ministry of Tourism to pursue a music career.  One of the best decisions I ever made in life.  When you are self-employed, you know that you have to work in order to get paid.  The more you give, the more you increase the possibilities of earning more which has enhanced my creativity immensely,” Hepburn states.

Hepburn is a composer and many of his works have been performed by choirs and soloists in The Bahamas, Caribbean, North America and Europe. He has worked with notable world renowned artists such as JoAnn Deveaux-Callender, soprano at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, pianist Lee Callender at St James's Piccadilly, London, composer Dominique Le Gendre, and director Derek Walcott (Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992).  He is the co-founder of Foley & Hepburn, an international male vocal duo which have had successful concerts in Dubai, The Bahamas, and the USA and over 200 performances in the United Kingdom.

“I am deeply indebted to the Grand Bahama Port Authority for believing in me and offering a scholarship,” he said. “That definitely changed the direction of my life in that it opened my eyes to the possibilities on a global scale.  Returning to The Bahamas from university in Canada, I realized that the best way for me to represent my beloved Bahamaland was to travel the world,” Hepburn concluded.

The Foley & Hepburn Duo will perform in Freeport on Friday, February 3rd and Saturday, at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club and Port Lucaya Marketplace respectively. The weekend concert events are sponsored by: The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited, The Grand Bahama Development Company, BORCO, The Grand Bahama Power Company, Freeport Harbour Company, Freeport Container Port, the Grand Bahama Airport Company and the Grand Bahama Shipyard.

Persons interested in purchasing tickets for either or both events may contact the Grand Bahama Youth Choir at 688-3586.

Photo: Mr. Franz Hepburn of the Foley & Hepburn Duo - World renowned vocalist and composer to perform live in concert at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club and Port Lucaya Marketplace, February 3rd and 4th respectively.

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