Dionne Crichton-Bailey, president of the Brooklyn-based St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nurses Association of New York, Inc. (SVGNANY), has described as very successful her group’s hosting Sunday of the third Winter Wonderland Entertainment Evening at the Golden Hall of St. Gabriel’s Episcopal (Anglican) Church on Hawthorne Street in Brooklyn.
“The event was well attended and supported, and many expressed, ‘I had a very wonderful and enjoyable evening,’” Crichton-Bailey told Caribbean Life in an exclusive post-show interview.
“I don’t know about anybody else, but I had a good time,” added Crichton, quoting patrons as saying. “’It was really lovely,’ and the list goes on.”
Representatives from several New York-based Caribbean nursing organizations, as well as Vincentian groups in New York,” attended the event.
Caribbean nursing groups included Haiti; Barbados; Trinidad and Tobago; and Bronx, Westchester and Manhattan Chapter of the Caribbean American Nursing Association.
Vincentian groups comprised the Brooklyn-based umbrella group, Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Organizations, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO); Girls High School Alumnae, Inc.; South Rivers Progressive Organization; and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York, Inc.
“Today, it’s your third event, and am impressed with the dedication and efforts you put into your events,” said Arden Tannis, COSAGO’s vice president.
Earlier, he left patrons aghast by declaring, in the preface to his remarks, that, “for years, I hated nurses, and I ask for your forgiveness.”
But, after explaining — while holding aloft a large, unused syringe that would be used to inject Tetanus shots for bruises he’d sustained as a kid in St. Vincent and the Grenadines — the audience seemed to sympathize with him.
“I have no fear now,” assured Tannis in trying to mollify patrons. “My wife is a nurse.”
The event, which also served as a fund-raiser and awards ceremony, featured, among others, musical selections by Vincentians Abena Amory-Powell and Oscar James; musical renditions by Vincentian-American Gordon Gatherer; steel pan presentation by Vincentian Trevor Hepburn; and dance by Grenadian Jadawna Dufont, a member of the Dance Theater of Harlem.
Hepburn — who started playing pan at 8 years old and has been playing for “50-something years” — panned out “To God be the Glory”, and “Green, Green Grass of Home.”
Amory-Powell sang “Winter Wonderland” and Etta James’s “At last;” and Gatherer wrote and sang “Moment to Moment” as “a great Christmas gift to me,” and Louis Armstrong’s “A Wonderful World” to high acclaim.
James — who sings calypso, soca, reggae and R&B, among other genres of music — brought the house down with Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and his self-authored “Jah, Jah” and “Hurricane,” a tribute to victims of the 2017 hurricanes that devastated some Caribbean islands.
“It was a scintillating event,” James, co-founder of the defunct Vincentian band, Affetuousos, in the 1970s, told Caribbean Life afterwards. “Everybody was in a convivial mode. The function was well attended.”
With her mother Jackie DuFont in the audience, Jadawna, a member of Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church in Brooklyn, danced to The Piano Guy’s “How Great Thou Art.”
SVGNANY provided a $1,500.00 scholarship to Vincentian native Merlene Williams, a licensed practical nurse (LPN), currently enrolled in the Registered Nurse (RN) program at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College. She plans to graduate this summer.
“It’s one of best career choices I’ve ever made,” said Williams after receiving the check from RN Judith Lewis, a Vincentian-born nursing instructor at Medgar Evers College. “I’m honored for the award and ready to give back.”
Crichton-Bailey said some of the proceeds for this year’s scholarship were donated by a founding member and past president, RN Clari Gilbert, who has retired and currently resides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Crichton-Bailey said that proceeds from the event are also used to assist in providing medical supplies and equipment to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in the Vincentian capital, Kingstown, and district clinics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Additionally, she said partial proceeds help to provide supplies to several rehabilitative and other institutions in New York City.
Harriet’s Caterers provided finger-licking West Indies delicacies, such as codfish cakes and fried chicken wings, with Vincentian local drinks, sorrel and ginger beer, to wash them down, as DJ 3 Shott jammed calypso, soca, reggae and Christmas, among other rhythms.
“This year, our goal was to create an atmosphere of warmth and coziness, as was evident by our theme and décor,” Crichton-Bailey said.