Six nationals were awarded at the 7 th National Honours and Awards Ceremony on March 12, 2022, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The Order of Merit was awarded to Mr. William O’Garro and Bishop Kenneth Harewood OBE. The Order of Distinction awarded to Lady Eudora Fergus and Mr. Sylvester Browne. The Order of Excellence award went to Dr. Vernie Clarice Barnes and Mr. Kenneth Allen QC, OBE.
The Hon Premier Mr. Joseph E. Farrell in his opening remarks recognized each of the awardees contribution to Montserrat’s development and congratulated them on their achievements.
Entertainment during the evening was provided by Mrs. Mildred Chalmers who sang the National Song. A steel pan rendition of local songs was wonderfully performed by Josiah Persaud. The Emerald Shamioles, one of the local cultural masquerade dance groups, also entertained the audience with some shortened versions of several their very colourful and engaging dances. The final entertainment came from Keithroy ‘De Bear” Morson, the reigning calypso king in Montserrat.
The Mountain Aglow exhibition hosted by the Montserrat Volcano Observation (MVO) will be on display from March 10 th 2022 at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. This exhibit is one that is expected to depict how the Soufriere Hills Volcano’s eruption impacted on the island of Montserrat, whilst embracing the richness of Montserrat’s natural environment.
The “Mountain Aglow” is a project funded by a research grant from the UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) which is led by Prof Jenni Barclay (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) and by Dr Karen Pascal, Ms. Kathleen Retourne of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory here on Montserrat. One of the main objectives of this project was to examine into how the local culture, the arts, combined with the expertise of those who have experienced a natural hazard such as a volcanic eruption, can help with volcanic risks awareness and preparedness, which ultimately will lead to recovery.
The exhibit uses photographs, drawings, interviews, songs or poetry excerpts, etc. which allows them to share and promote the scientific knowledge, including the knowledge and experiences from the population of their coping mechanism of how they managed to live with an erupting volcano.
The first “Mountain Aglow” exhibit premiered in Montserrat during the 2019 Alliouagana Literature Festival in November of 2019, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The exhibit has since been showcased around the island to include at the Montserrat National Museum, and the Montserrat Community College.
The administrators of the Montserrat Cultural Centre note with regret the sad passing of playwright, versatile theatre artist and journalist David Edgecombe at the age of 69. From early age David strove for excellence in theatre and attained it to the delight of Montserratian audiences and theatre lovers across the region. He expressed and enacted the view that amateur theatre does not have to be amateurish. His plays have travelled across the region to places like Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Thomas- just to name a few and even to as far away as Nigeria.
Moving to St. Thomas, he became Director of the Reichhold Centre for the Arts at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) where he was also a Professor. In his capacity as theater instructor at UVI, he wrote numerous plays capturing the Caribbean life experiences thereby showcasing its unique culture and history. His theatre productions enabled students to recognize, embrace, develop and display their talents in one form or another. His work with the youths at UVI allowed him to spot talent and create avenues for them to showcase these talents.
Thus his death has left a large gap in the artistic world, especially in the Caribbean region. Understandably, volumes of tributes are coming from everywhere for this prominent Montserratian, this exponent of the arts, and we at the Montserrat Cultural Centre want to add our voices to the chorus. His was a huge and lasting legacy and Montserrat in particular, is proud of this accomplished son. We express our sincere sympathies to all of his family members and close friends. His loss is a national one.
The 13th Annual Alliouagana Festival of the Word hosted by The University of the West Indies campus here in Montserrat is scheduled to take place from November 18 to November 20, 2021. Some of the locally scheduled events include:
• The Write Montserrat Exhibition at the Montserrat Public Library from Monday, November 15 to Saturday, November 20
• The Children’s Book Parade on Thursday, November 18 from 10AM and
• The Author Gala on Saturday, November at 6PM at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The author gala will feature new books from seven authors including Sir Howard Fergus, Edwin ‘Red Ride” Martin, Shirley Osborne, and Jennifer Joseph.
The Authors Gala is going to be quite an interesting evening with discussions and feedback from various persons. Tickets for the gala are now on sale for EC$100 and can be purchased from the Montserrat Arts Council or the Montserrat Public Library.
The Montserrat’s premier of the film Under the Volcano featuring George Martin– a great record producer, arranger, and musician happened on October 1 – 3, 2021. The first evening saw Government officials and persons from the private sector. The other two evenings were open to the public. The film highlighted the islands beautiful landscape with little snippets of its culture but mainly concentrated on the journey taken by Sir George Martin with the building of the recording studio known as Air Studios on Montserrat and the number great musicians who came and recorded in Montserrat. Some of these stars and groups included Paul McCartney, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, the Police and Dire Straits etc. The movie was quite interesting not only because of the realization of great set of music which was recorded in Montserrat, but it was interesting to see how these musicians were able to blend in comfortably with the local community without any worry of security concerns.
The Emerald Community Singers, is a Folk Choir founded by the late Dr. George Irish on September 15, 1971. The group held its first performance on December of that year at the Shamrock Theatre (Cinema), in Plymouth.
Over the last 50 years Montserrat’s culture has been enhanced with performances by the Emerald Community Singers who have used their stage to showcase Montserrat’s musical heritage, through religious and folk music both at home and abroad in numerous music festivals. Some of its earliest members included the late Dr. Vernon Buffonge, Mrs. Edith Bellot Allen who was one of the leading voices of the group and Ms. Veronica Hickson.
The Emerald Community Singers current interim leader is Mr. Herman (Cupid) Francis, local musician and former calypso king of Montserrat.
The Office of the Legislature held its 6 th annual orientation week for first form entry students to the Montserrat Secondary School under the theme – “ A cord of three strands is NOT EASILY BROKEN”.
The activities started on Tuesday 24 th August and ended on Friday 27 th August 2021. The first 3 days at the cultural centre saw presentations from a number of persons from both the public and private sector who spoke to them on different topics aimed at assisting the students with their transition from the primary school level to the secondary school level. The week ended with a hike and beach picnic to one Montserrat’s popular beaches – the Rendezvous beach.
Some sixty-six students will be graduating from the Montserrat Secondary School for the school year 2021. The ceremony will be held in the Sir George Martin Auditorium at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. Highlights to the ceremony includes the Principals report presented by Mr. Toney Allen ( Principal), the Academic awards, performances by the MSS Dance Group and a musical interlude by the MSS school Band and the graduating class. The valedictory address for the class of 2021 will be given by Shay-Reese Chambers.
The PRIME Expo which was hosted on July 23 and 24, 2021 by the Trade Unit in the Office of the Premier in collaboration with the Montserrat Arts Council was ‘dubbed’ to be a huge success. The event which was staged in the Sir George Martin Auditorium of the Montserrat Cultural Centre started with an opening ceremony which included remarks from the Permanent Secretary Mrs. Daphne Cassell from the Office of the Premier and special remarks from the Minister of Agriculture Mr. Crenston Buffonge who represented the Premier. The opening ceremony also saw an exciting dance performance by the Matrix Dancers. The closing of the event on July 24th included a fashion show which showcased clothing made from the local seamstresses with a performance by Trevon Pollard the local festival Soca King and a local band.
There were over 25 producers who showcased products over the two days. The participants came from different sectors of the private sector to include artisans, agro-processors, horticulture etc. The event allowed the producers the opportunity to not only become aware of the wide array of other locally produced goods and services but also gave them the opportunity to establish links and expand market reach for their products locally by engaging directly with clients or future customers.
Brades Primary School celebrated with its 28 graduating students on July 14, 2021 during its Graduation process at the Sir George Martin Auditorium in the Montserrat Cultural Centre. The top student in Mathematics, Science and Language Arts was Jaazani Hackett. Top student in Social Studies was Tay’Juan Grant. The class valedictorian is Jaazani Hackett. Congratulations to both of these students and to all of the graduating class of 2021.
Lady Under The Stairs realeased at MCC on 17th Sept. 2021