The United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn (UVCGB) recently held its massive audience in stitches and spell-bound, as it mesmerized diverse patrons during its 10th annual cultural show at Meyer Levin Intermediate School at the corner of Ralph Avenue and Beverley Road in Brooklyn.
Hundreds of Vincentian and other Caribbean nationals, primarily Jamaicans, turned out for the production that featured, among other things, folk songs, dances, skits, choral speeches and addresses.
Patrons were on edge during the more than three-hour production that also showcased a cultural selection from singer Erlene Williams-King, a former aide to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines New York Consul General, accompanied by UVCGB members.
Williams-King was resplendent in her 1972 Afro-centric wedding attire, as she rhapsodized with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
The UVCGB children, the Children of Culture of St. Lucia and the Meyer Levin Dancers were also featured.
“The members rose to the occasion and did their best to make their powerful performances,” said UVCGB president Dr. Roxie Irish, a former Vincentian national netball star in a Caribbean Life interview.
“The UVCGB children did a phenomenal job with their items,” added Irish, giving a special “Thank You” to Okelia Holder,13, the youngest child of UVCGB members Geoffrey and Gwendolyn Holder, for choreographing and participating in the children’s dance. “Such a wonderful talent!
“It is imperative that we continue to teach these young ones our culture so that they can take it the next level,” she continued.
Irish was also high in praise for UVCGB members, saying that their “sacrifices are greatly appreciated.”
“Let’s continue to work together in this our mission to be a blessing to others,” she urged. “Your reward waits in your name. And remember that what God has for you is yours only. The best is yet to come for each and every one of you.”
Irish said new songs, written by UVCGB’s newest member, cultural figure Gordon “Don” Sutherland, were added to the group’s repertoire.
She described Sutherland as “a very gifted writer and musician.”
Sutherland was the lead guitarist in the UVCGB band that also comprised Holder (guitarist), Rawle “Winkie” Decaul (keyboardist), Tyrone Owusu Slater (drummer) and Alex Colon (maracas).
Irish said other community groups were added to this year’s production in UVCGB’s continuing “quest to foster unity among the different islands.”
“This is something we are planning to do from time to time in our future shows,” she said.
In addition to furnishing medical supplies to clinics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, from funds raised at cultural shows and tea parties, Irish said UVCGB, for the past two years, has been donating toys to Aunty G’s Charitable Children’s Organization, headed by Georgietta Nanton, of Georgetown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Nanton was on hand to address the effervescent audience.
The group also successfully appealed to the audience to “dig deep into their pockets, pocket books and wallets” in supporting former national football star, midfielder Keith “Slick” Bonadie (Clarke), who recently suffered a stroke.
US$1,300.00 in patrons’ contribution was presented to Bonadie, who had earlier addressed the audience, at show’s end.
“When I heard of the plight of our brother, Keith ‘Slick’ Bonadie, I knew that we had to help him,” Irish said. “It is the way we live.
“I firmly believe that ministry is about people; and, since the UVCGB is not just a group but a ministry, we will always lend a helping hand to those in need,” she added.
Stanley “Luxie” Morris – under whose captaincy Bonadie played at home in the 1970s and 80s and in New York in the 1990s – told Caribbean Life he was gratified by the outpouring of support for his “fallen brother.”
“He’ll not be alone at this time when he needs love, encouragement, prayers and other assistance,” said Morris, adding that he and Bonadie “go way back.”
Irish said UVCGB is “very pleased” with its accomplishments to date, adding, however, that it is “fully aware that there is still much more to be done.”