Saturday May 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm
From as early as March I got word that the Kingston College Chapel Choir would be touring Washington, DC as part of the 50th Independence anniversary celebration for Jamaica. Thanks to the great work of the New York chapter which kept us updated on the preparations and latest news concerning the trip.
They are to be commended also for starting a fund drive to help defray some of the expenses of the tour. I have to say that was one check that I gladly dispatched to New York to do my part. As the event got closer, I was aware of the performance dates but somehow no one could give me a time. True to my KC Motto I did not yield and two days before the commencement of the performance a dear friend who also participated in the festivities at the National Cathedral sent me the schedule of events. Armed with this information, I quickly sent it out to all the local Jamaicans in my email address book plus many of my church members and co-workers.
Although I had a full day of planned activities for that Saturday, I was determined not to miss the performance. I picked up my son; he had just completed his SAT, gave him lunch and dropped him home. The hour drive from Burke, Virginia was filled with anxiety…would I meet any one I had not seen for years, how the boys would perform and would it be well attended, especially since rain was forecasted that day.
Well, God answered prayers; there was intermittent drizzling but nothing heavy. As a matter of fact, after finding parking fairly easy on one of the side roads, the abundance of activities happening on the Cathedral grounds and the tents greeted me as I entered the Cathedral courtyard. After getting the location of the performance, I was on my way inside when I met up with two of the young choristers who were also on their way inside to join up with the rest of the choir. We had a very spirited conversation after I introduced myself and revealed that I was a 1975 KC graduate. They assured me that they were well treated and that they were enjoying the trip. After bidding them farewell, I met with the adults and welcomed them to Washington, DC. It was great to see Donald Morris after many years and whose attendance at KC coincided with mine.
Soon it was time for the performance, the choristers did not disappoint. They presented 30 minutes of outstanding singing. For me it was riveting, nostalgic and provided me an opportunity to reminiscence on my days at KC. They performed over ten songs including such favourites as: Redemption Song, Many Rivers to Cross, Linstead Market, Dis lang time gyal, O Praise ye the lord etc. They tackled Spirituals, Reggae and Classics with ease and poise. I could not stay steady in my seat and when I looked around it was evident that the audience was also enjoying themselves. Many had their personal favourites and applauded heartily after hearing it. Personally, I had several favourites but I will single out O Praise ye the lord by Noel Dexter my former Church Organist at Constant Spring Church of God. I wish it could have lasted longer but getting this taste of home was like a balm to my soul. Thank you, thank you!
Thanks to Mr. Audley Davidson for his commanding direction of the choir and the superb piano playing Ms. Ann McNamee. I also had the pleasure of also meeting Ms. Marguerita Hall one of the Vice Principals at the Melbourne Campus.
The choir was without doubt a splendid ambassador for KC and Jamaica. I cannot wait to hear them again. In the meantime, I wish everyone best wishes and continued success.
Robert “Bobby” Shaw attended KC from 1968 to 1975