Vincentian ‘consummate culture man’ honored

David “Darkie” Williams (left) receives award from calypsonian Cyril “Scorcher” Thomas.
Photo by Nelson A. King

David Augustine “Darkie” Williams, described as the “consummate culture man” and the “Father of Drumming” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was honored Saturday night with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Brooklyn-based Friends of Sion Hill at the group’s 3rd annual gala at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn bestowed the award to Williams.

Williams told the sell-out crowd that, when he began active community service in 1969, in his home village, Sion Hill, he did so “not to gather accolades for myself but to be of service to people voluntarily.

“Now, 50 years of that voluntary service to community and country, here I am, and am highly excited about tonight,” the former elementary school teacher in St. Vincent and the Grenadines said.

“I am doubly proud not just as a recipient of one of your awards but as a contributor,” added Williams, referring to the Friends of Sion Hill.

In 1975, Williams became the first president of Sion Hill United Cultural and Sports Club.

According to his biography, Williams’s “simple leadership style of being less autocratic and allowing volunteers and other group leaders the space to carry out their functions with absolutely minimal interference from the executive, brought to the forefront the many talents available to the community and for everyone to become aware of the fact that there is a channel — a place within this community that could serve as a variable outlet for whatever skills you possess.”

Williams was also the “main mover” behind the formation of the Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra, “and continues to be a technical advisor to that entity even up to today,” the biography says.

In 1974, Williams joined the then recently formed New Artist Movement (NAM), excelling in dancing, drumming and acting.

“In fact, among drummers across SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), ‘Darkie’ is referred to as the ‘Father of Drumming,’ having been directly involved in training many of them who in turn pass that training onto their peers,” the biography states.

In a career spanning 44 years, Williams has “travelled the world as a theatre expert.”

“On the strength of intensive training at the University of the West Indies, the Edna Manley School for the Performing Arts, and the John F Kennedy Institute of Arts in Washington, his dedication to the development of culture and the performing arts in SVG is unquestionable,” states his biography.

He has been the recipient of numerous local, regional and international awards.

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