Vincentian and other Caribbean cultural aficionados got more than their monies’ worth at an electrifying cultural show Saturday night at the Miracle Temple Ministries in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
The standing-room-only 11th annual cultural package, hosted by the United Vincie Cultural Group (UVCGB), attracted a diversity of Caribbean nationals, including Jamaicans, Guyanese and Trinidadians.
“To me, it was another mission fully accomplished,” said UVCGB President Dr. Roxie Irish in a post-show interview. “I’m pleased with our performance.
“This year, we had more diversity,” added the former St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ national netball star. “We’re selling St. Vincent and the Grenadines to people we don’t know. We’re on a quest to be the best promoters of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
UVCGB members performed a number of selections, dramatizations, skits and dances, including new ones written by choreographer and producer Randolph “Randy” Liverpool and Ada Johnson, a lawyer and retired Registrar of the High Court in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Most of the folk and other songs were arranged by Gordon “Don Sutherland,” a renowned cultural figure in the country’s second largest town, Georgetown.
The four-hour-long show also featured, among others, “Welcome to SVG” by former Vincentian calypsonian-turned-gospel artiste Angus “Brigo” Lynch, Trinidadian comedienne Susan Kennedy, and Ska dancing by Jamaican Nikhidia Harris and her dad.
“The cultural show was excellent,” said Liverpool, who, a year ago, moved to New Jersey, from where he commutes for rehearsals in Brooklyn. “The hectic schedule of rehearsals and preparations have paid off big time!
“All members of the United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn performed exceptionally well,” added the former school teacher in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and retired detective superintendent in Bermuda. “I am so proud to be a member and choreographer of the group.”
He said supporters have even compared the UVCGB to the Georgetown Folk Creation Group, of which he was an integral part in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in the mid-70s.
“It appears that the audience was greatly entertained by the variety of renditions we performed — folk songs, skit, dances, choral speeches, comedy, etc. — and everyone got their money’s worth,” Liverpool said. “I am also filled with joy that I am part of promoting Vincy culture in the USA and keeping the culture alive amongst the Vincy Diaspora.
“Most importantly, we are doing so for a good cause — to provide medical supplies to clinics and hospitals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and to help others in dire need, which can ultimately make an immense positive difference in the lives of fellow Vincentians,” Liverpool added.
Sutherland said the group’s performance is improving by leaps and bounds.
“Each year our group is performing at a higher level,” he said, stating that three new original folk songs — “Keep Our Culture Alive,” written by Johnson, and “Callin List” and “Where all the Childhood Days Gone,” written by Liverpool — were up-tempo folk songs, “which touched our audience.”
“It took me a couple of years to get my buddy Randy to move to the Tri-State (area) to join the group,” Sutherland said. “His presence is helping us raise the bar.”
He said the band — with him on lead guitar, Jeffery Holder on guitar, Ike Jeffers on bass, Raul “Winky” Decaul on keyboard, and Uwusu Slater on drums — “did an excellent job. “
“Our group loves SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) very much, and we are giving back to our fellow Vincentians,” Sutherland said. “Our goal is to promote folk culture in SVG and in the Caribbean community in America.”