An Evening of Caribbean Mu­sic and Sto­ries

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Cat Foster

Sold-out ben­e­fit con­certs were held on Fri­day 29th and Satur­day 30th Jan­uary at Mu­sicbox, the per­for­mance venue at Golden Palm Events Cen­tre in Rod­ney Heights. In at­ten­dance on Fri­day evening was Gov­er­nor Gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy.

Pro­ceeds were in sup­port of Amy’s Gift to Saint Lu­cia, a mu­sic pro­ject which cur­rently ben­e­fits the Boys Train­ing Cen­tre and Dun­not­tar School, and for the Saint Lu­cia School of Mu­sic (SLSM).

Sue San­dle, speak­ing on be­half of the mu­sic pro­ject com­mit­tee, gave a brief his­tory of the pro­ject’s ori­gins, the two years of fund­ing from the Amy Wine­house Foun­da­tion, progress, achieve­ments and hopes for the fu­ture.

Com­pered by a jus­ti­fi­ably proud and ex­u­ber­ant Larry Bain, the mu­sic pro­gramme then com­menced with tunes by bands from the two learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions. Hearts melted and hands clapped in recog­ni­tion of how hard the young­sters had worked and their courage in play­ing live to packed-out houses. Credit goes to in­struc­tor John Polius who last year worked with stu­dents from both schools, and to the new mu­sic teacher, Les­tan Ce­lestin.

A string en­sem­ble from the SLSM demon­strated the re­sult of tal­ent and years of prac­tice by en­ter­tain­ing with a mix of clas­si­cal and folk tunes.

Au­di­ences were in for a spe­cial treat as Gary Stoner per­formed with a med­ley of Coun­try and Western songs. Gary, a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor with his fam­ily to Saint Lu­cia, is lead singer of the Mid-Life Cow­boys band in the USA.

Then came the star of the night: Gene Lawrence ac­com­pa­nied by Jesse Billy on key­board, Al­bert Eu­gene on elec­tric bass and Dale St. Jules on drums. Gene, dap­per in his white suit and trade­mark hat, re­galed with sto­ries of Caribbean mu­sic – the ori­gins of cer­tain songs, when they were per­formed and the mean­ings be­hind lyrics. Gene is an ex­pert story-teller and a tal­ented song­writer and mu­si­cian; he im­pressed all and en­sured that the evenings ended on the high notes on which they had com­menced.

Thanks were voiced to the on­go­ing spon­sors of Mu­sicbox and the SLSM: Michael Chas­tanet and Coco Re­sorts for the venue, Ba­nana Sound for the stage, light­ing and sound, and Sagi­cor for as­sis­tance in ob­tain­ing the mag­nif­i­cent Bech­stein pi­ano. Grat­i­tude was ex­pressed to spon­sors of th­ese spe­cific con­certs: Bar­bay for wine, Blue Wa­ters for wa­ter, Du Doulay’s Bot­tling for soft drinks, La Cantina for wine, Peter & Co for Presidente beer and Spin­nakers for the plas­tic glasses and ice.

L-R: Jesse Billy, Gene Lawrence, Al­bert Eu­gene and Dale St Jules

in per­for­mance at Mu­sicbox. (Photo by Elvin Ryan Ger­maine.)

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