Picture this: I am simply cooling out at the 2012 Purple Session fund raising event in Miramar, Florida, sipping a brew (Liptons), and I am seated quite comfortably in an area that I think is the courtyard of the truly magnificent Miramar Cultural Center building. There are flat screen monitors strategically positioned within the compound so that KCOBs and their supporters, could observe, from a distance, the ballroom dance-floor action and carryings on.
Fab 5, the “world’s most versatile band,” is cementing their claim to that fame, as they perform a variety of hits, some that I have never ever heard them perform before. Can you imagine Fab 5 doing a series of Bee Gees music?
It is now well into the night, a balmy first-Saturday-in-October night, as the South Florida Chapter of the Kingston College Old Boys Association was hosting what is unquestionably the most prolific fund raising event for any Jamaican school anywhere in the world.
Suddenly I somehow figure that something big was about to happen. So I trek to the ballroom, winding my way through the throngs of benefactors, many of whom are dressed in some form of purple or purple-accented outfit. For those who don’t know, our school colors, purple and white, represent royalty and purity.
I now position myself not too far from a ballroom entrance door, the perfect place to be (in case I need to make a fast exit). In a few minutes, the announcement: “Sanchez!” Sanchez was soon on stage. Everything changed!
All of a sudden hundreds of patrons, mostly women, headed towards the stage in a mad rush. One woman slammed into me very hard, in her rush to get to the front of the stage. I was not hurt, though; something between her and me somehow cushioned the blow. Thank goodness.
Sanchez was amazing! What an expansive repertoire he has! Roots and Culture! Love songs! Religious songs! For example, he started out with “Pass the Dutchie,” and other hits. Then he moved quite effortlessly to perform a variety of big-hit love songs. After that, he followed up with numerous renditions of religious songs…songs such as (one of my favorites) “We Shall Have a Grand Time,” and others, as well. Then, amazingly, he’s back with a lengthy series of love songs. His talent abounds; he’s truly blessed.
I eventually ran into Verna, a woman whom I had met along with her family at the KCOB reception the night before. She had literally boasted that she had been to every single Purple Session, save one. That’s # 13 for her, if you are checking.
Counting on her experience, I asked her what she thought of the 2012 Purple Session thus far. “It’s the best session ever,” Verna proclaimed proudly and emphatically. “And why yu tink so, Verna? “Sanchez, of course,” she uttered, showing a bit of disgust at my apparent naiveté, before she dashed off to the courtyard to secure a frosted bottle of water, no doubt. It appeared that she was hot…very hot.
As I surveyed the jam-packed ballroom, I asked Anthony Williams, president of KCOBA Atlanta Chapter, to estimate the number of people on the dance floor. “Roughly 800,” he said. That estimate did not, of course, include the hundreds of benefactors lazing in the courtyard areas, nor those who lined the mighty and lengthy hallways of this statuesque building that has served as the Purple Session venue over the last few years. Those benefactors were just “easy as (the fast approaching) Sunday morning,” not caring much about dancing. Instead, they were busy chatting with old friends, or were simply catching up on the old times, or they were merrily kindling new friendships. A little bit of everything positive goes on at the Purple Session. It’s all good.
Audley Hewett and the entire South Florida KCOB leadership must be very proud of the successes they have had bringing this annual fund raiser to its premiere stature. The question I have always asked privately, though: When did they start calling the annual fund raiser the BIG Purple Session? Did they do so from the start, when it was not really that big? If so, they must have had quite a vision, which is our trademark, of course. Purple Session is BIG!
So, where do some of the proceeds go from a fund raiser such as this? I know! Actually, everyone knows. To benefit the College, of course
I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to a mini summit of the various Kingston College Old Boys Association organizations. The meeting was held early morning at the Grand Palm Resort, in Pembroke Pines, Florida, after the Session. Among the many financial commitments made, was a pledge to help fund the purchase of a US$62,000 school bus for the college. That’s BIG!
Needless to say, the South Florida KCOBA has touched another magical button of success with its most recent coup, matching Sanchez with Fab 5. I can’t wait to see what’s up for next year. I will tell you; I’ll be there!
You must do your part, though. You already know the time and place for the 2013 Purple Session. Be there!