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Sep 16, 2022

Classical Composer Frankie Reneau Speaks the Language of Music

During the month of September, patriotism is at its highest, as we celebrate Belize’s Independence. Notable songs for the festivities ring out and radio favourites are played the entire month. If you look forward to this time of the year, it’s hard not to mention Francis Reneau’s contributions to the fore. This week’s look on the bright side took Sabreena Daly to the Bliss Institute, a second home to Frankie Reneau.


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

Prominent, classical composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Bach, and Mozart are names you would recognize if you appreciate the world of classical music. The names of these virtuosos are etched in history for their contribution to music as we know it. In Belize, the maestro is Francis Reneau.

Francis “Frankie” Reneau

Francis “Frankie” Reneau, Classical Musician

“I consider myself very lucky because I understand music as a language. Sometimes when I look at people, I read them almost like when I look at those black dots on the score. Those look so ridiculous when you see music written there but out of that, you can create a world of wonder.”


Francis “Frankie” Reneau is a classically-trained, Belizean musician known for using his gift of composing to create timeless works of patriotism. The love of Belize can be heard in his music which has been performed by well-known Belizean singers like Lord Rhaburn, Leelah Vernon and Tanya Carter. Music is Frankie Reneau’s destiny.

Francis “Frankie” Reneau
“That’s how it started. The piano was actually on location and I was only three years old. It seems like one morning, my guardian, the lady who brought me up, I called her my mother, she heard sounds coming from the piano and rightly or wrongly, but thankfully, they thought, “What’s going on, he’s playing a tune.” I believe the story, as far as it goes, is that there was a band passing along the streets the day before and I was sitting there trying to find the notes of this tune that they were playing.”


The child prodigy would later amass skills that deem him a musical phenomenon. At the young age of sixteen, he composed and wrote A Mass in Blues, a collection of songs dedicated to the passing of his late music teacher. It’s a spiritual expression that describes the stages of grief using a choral collective of supporting singers. One notable performer on his first project was Jennifer Lovell.

Jennifer Lovell

Jennifer Lovell, Singer
“He Is a genius. He is a genius. He hears music in his head. He hears the whole band in his head and then he would write the music based upon what he is hearing. I was always fascinated with that, really, really fascinated. He is a perfectionist, still is. And so, we had to practice. Our diction had to be correct. We had to sing properly so that everyone could understand what we were saying, be on key. We dreamed the music literally.”

Francis “Frankie” Reneau
“You know when you’re doing these things, you don’t actually think, you just do it because you have to. It’s when you look back, then you say oh, how did that happen? Sometimes I look back and say my God, how did I write that at that age?”


Frankie Reneau would later contribute masterworks in numbers through notable productions like We are Belize at 25, Song for the People, special renditions of the national anthem and Motown Memories.

Francis “Frankie” Reneau
“Once, I had this idea of memories, as one of the concerts was called Motown Memories. Once I got that I said alright, lets feature all the local talent, which we have quite a lot, and get together and do this show. It went down a real treat and it’s been always packed in here. Sometimes two nights we had the show and so it became a yearly thing and it will continue next year.”
Jennifer Lovell
“We’re still discovering new talent. Every time he comes, he’d bring new people in. He’s still discovering new talent. He’s really good at showcasing people, letting all Belizeans see the talent we have if we work hard.”


And his desire to impart knowledge and technique onto local artists has garnered him a great deal of admiration and respect. Jackie Castillo is one such person.


Jackie Castillo

Jackie Castillo, Singer
“If you listen or if you read music and read Frankie’s music sheets, you would be in awe to understand that he hears every single instrument, he can compose every single sound. What you see on stage is just the finished product. But the genius that goes behind that level of composition and for us to be a part of that, it puts us indelibly in Belize’s history as musicians. He doesn’t work with anybody. If he works with you, it’s because he recognizes that you have a talent, whether you’re a vocal talent or a musician that plays an instrument.”

Francis “Frankie” Reneau

“Over the years, I have realized in some ways that it’s impossible for me to live without music. I think there’s hardly a day that’s passed that I have not touched a piano.”


The language of music is one that few can speak, but it is felt by many. Its universal reach allows us to understand a song’s story through emotions. Francis Reneau, the story teller, is the gift that keeps on giving. Looking on the bright side, I’m Sabreena Daly.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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