Internationally-acclaimed Vincentian violinist Darron Andrews mesmerized patrons on Saturday at a massive cultural exposition, organized by the Brooklyn-based group Club St. Vincent, Inc., at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.
Patrons were simply in awe, as Andrews, also a keyboardist, music producer and chief executive officer of the record label Darron Andrews Music (DAM), rendered breathtaking performances with the violin and keytar.
Andrews, who holds a bachelor’s degree in jazz and popular music studies, interacted with the audience, as he offered selections from wide-ranging musical genres.
These included classics, jazz, pop, R&B, calypso, soca, reggae, folklore and other Caribbean musical styles.
He even had members of the audience singing and dancing to his thrilling performances.
“If you’re proud of St. Vincent [and the Grenadines], say ‘Vincy,’” Andrews exclaimed to the crowd before asking patrons to participate in folklore singing as he played the keytar.
“We have airport and all kinds of things,” he added, as the audience roared with unequivocal approval.
He distributed copies of his CDs after willing patrons — such as Ancilla Friday, vice president of Club St. Vincent, Inc., and Venda Dember-Cyrus and Agnes Lovelace — sang, with his musical accompaniment, “Moonlight Lantern” and “Mamma Come Ley We Labor.”
Verna Arthur, chairperson and coordinator of Club St. Vincent, Inc.’s 2017 Cultural Exposition, told Caribbean Life afterwards that Andrews’ performance was “simply fabulous.”
She noted that Andrews began his performance by “coming from the audience, as opposed to entering the stage.
“It was breathtaking,” Arthur said. “When I noticed kids running toward Darron, as he performed, that was it.
“I’ll keep my ears to the ground to listen for a future violinist and/or violinist/keytarist from among those kids,” the Paul’s Avenue, Kingstown native added.
Other featured artistes comprised: Cultural Ambassador and calypsonian Cyril “Scorcher” Thomas, a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines Deputy New York Consul General; Calypsonian Ron Pompey, returning to the stage after years-long lay-off; 10-year-old DJ Young Style; Garifuna Indigenous People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Acapella Soul.
Pageant organizer and fashionista Enisha Fern Dopwell coordinated “Fashions by Moshood,” featuring the youth and male models, such as David “Sky” Llewelyn, Terrance Edwards, Franklin “Superdex” Richards and Buddha.
They “wowed the audience as the strutted their stuff across the stage,” Arthur noted.
The exposition also featured exhibits from Vincentians and Caribbean nationals residing in the United States, as well as local food-selling vendors, and a wide-range of arts, crafts and agro-products, shipped from St. Vincent and the Grenadines through the Brooklyn-based Standard Shippers.
There were, among others, local craft paintings by Scrappie Dopwell; soaps, candles and body products by Taireen Warren and Jasmine Deane; coconut and rosemary oils by Kaydawn Ferguson; fans, baskets and place mats by Merle Gellizeau; farine by Mavis Roberts; assorted seasonings and pepper sauce by Alita Garraway; breadfruit punch, ginger wine and browning by Stacy Kelly-Dasilva; roasted peanuts by Yvonne Little; and seasoning, jams, and pepper and ginger sauce by Sharon Little.
Thomas told Caribbean Life that he was proud to perform at the event.
“I think it was a lot better than the last time,” he said after bringing the curtains down on the proceedings. “It was not very tiring. I felt the energy from the crowd, which was very encouraging.”
Thomas offered a number of hits from his wide repertoire, such as “Wake up the Party,” “Cultural Resistance,” “He only Dancing,” “Sweetness is my Weakness,” “Party Fever” and “I am a Darkie.”
“Banana Police,” “Keep Loving Me” and “Wine fo Wine” were among Pompey’s renditions.
Friday, who deputized for Club St. Vincent, Inc. president, Sandra Millington, praised Arthur’s chairpersonship and coordination of the exposition.
She also said she was pleased that many parents and grandparents “took the time to bring their children and grandchildren to this event and exposing them to our cultural crafts exhibits, local food and performances by our local artistes.”
Additionally, Friday urged patrons to “continue our legacy in the arts and culture, and pass on the love and unity into which we were raised.”
“As the chairperson of Club St. Vincent, Inc. Cultural Exposition Committee, I often look for areas where I may have fallen short on our cultural exposition and work on improving those areas for the next event,” Arthur said.
“This year was no different, despite the rave reviews from persons in attendance,” she added, thanking all, including her club members, for their unflinching support and patronage.