Montserrat Festival 50 honours key figures in its cultural history

More than 50 people were honoured last evening at the final event on the Montserrat Festival 50 calendar. The festival committee paid tribute to past queens, calypsonians and community leaders and organisations who supported the annual celebration which turned 50 in 2012.

Justin “Hero” Cassell who won Montserrat’s Calypso crown a record ten times accepts his award from the new Miss Montserrat Kadijah Furlonge at the Montserrat Festival 50 Awards Ceremony and Banquet on January 2, 2013 at the Cultural  Centre. (A Wayne Fenton Photo)

Justin “Hero” Cassell who won Montserrat’s Calypso crown a record ten times accepts his award from the new Miss Montserrat Kadijah Furlonge at the Montserrat Festival 50 Awards Ceremony and Banquet on January 2, 2013 at the Cultural Centre. (A Wayne Fenton Photo)

The red carpet affair organised by Yvette-Ryan and her team was hosted by Shirley Osborne, daughter of the late chief minister Dr. John A. Osborne and George “JGP” Piper, radio personality on the Caribbean SuperStation.

The Honourable Premier Reuben T. Meade in his remarks said the award celebration was a prelude to the National Awards which is being established and should come into effect this year once it passes through the Legislative Assembly.

Awards designed in the shape of Montserrat were presented to all of the past queens or the families of those now deceased. Present to accept their awards was the Montserrat’s first pageant winner in 1962 Edna Tuitt-Baptiste, Rose Willock from 1965, Ruthlyn Gerald-Wyke from 1973, 1979’s Glendena Taylor, 1983 winner Daphne Christopher-Cabey, the queens from 1999 to 2003 Jodine Meade, Estelle-Furlonge-Keil, Lyandra Hobson, Maudella Daley, and Francelise White-Morton. Miss Montserrat 2005 Janelle Weekes and the Claris Yearwood who handed her crown over to the current queen also received awards.

Miss Montserrat 1962 presented awards to the past kings who won crowns for one or two times. The former monarchs were Lorenzo “Challenger” Cassell from 1964, Winston “Young Warrior” Christopher 1968, Ishmael “Cutter” Skerritt in 1977, Kelvin “Tabu” Duberry in 1991, Lenroy “Patriot” Tuitt in 1996, Joseph “Pops” Morris in 2002, Garnett “Sylk” Thompson in 2011, Earl “Hustler” Browne in 1988 and 2001, Anderson “Andy” Kirnon in 2004 and 2005, and Keithroy “De Bear” Morson in 1992 and 1993.

Miss Montserrat 1965 Rose Willock accepts her award from the reigning calypso king Herman “Cupid” Francis at the Montserrat Festival 50 Awards Ceremony and Banquet on January 2, 2013 at the Cultural  Centre. (A Wayne Fenton Photo)

Miss Montserrat 1965 Rose Willock accepts her award from the reigning calypso king Herman “Cupid” Francis at the Montserrat Festival 50 Awards Ceremony and Banquet on January 2, 2013 at the Cultural Centre. (A Wayne Fenton Photo)

Upon accepting his award De Bear, who is also the reigning calypso monarch for Antigua and the Leeward Islands Calypso Monarch said he was thankful for the award and would continue to be a thorn in the sides of others as he tells the truth through music.

Receiving awards for winning the crown three or more times were: Alfred “Warrior” Christopher who won in 1963, 1966, and 1967; Roland “Kenzie” Johnson in 1994, 1995, and 1997; Herman “Cupid” Francis in 1998, 2008, and 2010; the late Alphonsus “Arrow” Cassell in 1974, 1975, and 1976; Silvina “Khandie” Malone in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009; Everton “Reality” Weekes in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, and 1984; and Cecil “Cepeke” Lake in 1987, 1990 and 1999.

Most notable was Justin “Hero” Cassell who was the island’s first calypso monarch in 1962 and won the crown ten times. Hero went on to win in 1965, 1972, 1973, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1989 and 2007. Hero honoured Reality and many of the other calypsonians who helped to grow the art form and said he was retiring from active competition.

Special awards were given to ZJB Radio Montserrat, Clifford Tuitt now deceased who was the island’s premier costume builder, Denise Phillip for her work on the festival committee, Hilton Howson who worked on the festival committee, Basil Morgan for his work in calypso and Cedric Osborne for his work as chairman of the festival committee.

Awards were also given to Bruce Farara for sponsorship support and being part of the committee management team over the years; James “Titus” Frederick for his work with masquerade, M.S. Osborne Ltd for its annual sponsorship of the festival, John E. Wyke for his work on the committee, Jeweline Roberts Riley for pageantry and costume building; and Cable & Wireless who has been a continued major sponsor of Montserrat’s festival.

Entertainment throughout the evening as provided by the 1963 calypso monarch Warrior, 2002 monarch Pops, local vocalist Chezline Riley, and dancers Tazia and Sharise.

The evening ended with music from the very popular DJ Tyrone.

For more information on Festival 50 and images from all of the events, visit montserratfestival.com.

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