St. Barthélemy

 

In 1999, shortly after his arrival in St. Barthélemy (also known as St. Barts) from New York and his appointment as director of the island’s choir, Chorale de Bons Choeur, Charles Darden noticed that, despite St. Barts being a French overseas collectivity, the culture on the island is different from that of France. The French national anthem was (and still is) the official national anthem of the island, but the French anthem’s theme of bloody revolution and rebellion is different than the peaceful, laid-back climate of St. Barthélemy. Darden decided an anthem reflecting the history of the island was more in order as a national anthem for St. Barts.

After mentioning to his choir about his wish for a poem about St. Barts to be composed, the choir recommended that member Isabelle Déravin could write a poem. Déravin, fluent in both French and English, composed the poem, making the rhythym symmetrical for the music that was to come, as well as the English translation. Later, on a trip to New York where he was playing the piano, Darden was introduced to Michael Valenti who is an accomplished Broadway composer, and Darden asked that he compose the music. Finally, in December of that year, the anthem was ready, and was performed for the first time on the island by Valenti and the Chorale de Bons Choeur. The anthem continues to be used as a local anthem played at appropriate occasions for local dignitaries.

Special thanks to: Michael Valenti for some information on the anthem. Please note that while the anthem itself is public domain, this arrangement is © Michael Valenti and Isabelle Massart Déravin. Used with permission.