Over $200,000 raised for Barbados’ newest Secondary School: Rosemary Phillips & Montreal’s Phantom of the Opera wow parents of Providence Elementary pupils

Providence Elementary is one of the parish of St George’s best kept secrets, formerly a sugar plantation it is now host to approximately 200 children completing their primary education. According to Eugene Melnyk (owner of the horse Sterwin Sandy Lane Gold Cup winner for 2010 and also owner of the popular hockey team Ottawa Senators and proprietor of Bert’s in Barbados and in Canada), one of the cornerstones in this soon-to-be secondary school as well, next year there’ll be 250 students then 300 in 2012 and so forth. Simple maths will show you that a well-kept facility like this needs large doses of capital to maintain such high standards.

This is where 9 & 10 year olds study

This is where 9 & 10 year olds study

This is why there’s the debut of an annual fund-raiser “Performance for Providence” which featured this year Barbados’ very own jazz singer Rosemary Phillips and award-winning Robert Pilon whose credits include Gaston LeRoux’ “Phantom of The Opera” as interpreted by Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. The two powerhouses regaled the audience that night in fine style.

Telescopic view of Eugene tickling ivories to deliver "Angel On a Pinhead"

Telescopic view of Eugene tickling ivories to deliver "Angel On a Pinhead"

Eugene also surprised many patrons by showing his other talent as philosopher and pianist, when he played his own instrumental “Angel On a Pinhead” which came from a debate on Guardian Angels’ sizes after a near miss from a bus on Yonge Street in Toronto. He developed the tune but never had words – perhaps he should have a contest for placing lyrics to the tune and use it as the underpinning for next year’s event -m say, using “Angel on a Pinhead” as the School Song?

Some of the reasons behind the Auctions and Performances

Some of the reasons behind the Auctions and Performances

I was very early and got a chance to view the spacious grounds which play host to youngsters from as diverse territories like Denmark or Israel – many pupils are children of diplomats stationed here. I was early so as to be able to have a quick chat with Robert about some of the highlights of his career. He’s not been on film but he did get an award for a TV programme which looked at Auditioning in a strange land, so to speak… {CLICK ON LINK FOR AUDIO CLIP};-

Pilon did “Canadian in NY” which won an award for its coverage of auditioning for a role in the Big Apple

The jeep which got so much attention

The jeep which got so much attention

For Robert, there are two Barbadoses – the West Coast which is placid when compared to the east which braves the Atlantic surf time after time – and there have been many reasons to visit our shores which he tries to share with his wife and three daughters {CLICK ON LINK FOR AUDIO CLIP};-

Robert spent time in similar Melnyk projects and also has done a few occasions with the growing Holders Festival

Duane Sevelin's Hollywood make-over: keenly contested item in the Silent Auction

Duane Sevelin's Hollywood make-over: keenly contested item in the Silent Auction

The popular Canadian descended from a large family which has been involved musically for quite a few generations {CLICK ON LINK FOR AUDIO CLIP};-

Pilon’s mother is one of 16 children from her side, and he got his start through religion like many talented singers

Robert Pilon and some Providence students in their version of the Lion King's "Circle Of Life"

Robert Pilon and some Providence students in their version of the Lion King's "Circle Of Life"

My favorite from Robert Pilon that night was his rendition of “Bring Him Home” which is a parents’ plea to bring their child safe from war, but his repertoire was varied indeed and the crowd was willing to stay the whole night to hear more and more.

Piper Hiedsieck kept at right temperature

Piper Hiedsieck kept at right temperature

The preparations were very thorough, as you can see, champagne was chilling from close to sunset just before patrons began to saunter into the arena which eventually is due to transform into a double tennis court.

Baby bridge for those too lazy to step over the plastic covering over the wires powering the concert

Baby bridge for those too lazy to step over the plastic covering over the wires powering the concert

There were many chances in the Silent Auctions, like a Hollywood make-over session with Duane Sevelin or a chance at some divine pastries from Flindt Patisserie. As well as an opportunity to lounge in an Altman villa and sport a Colombian Emeralds’ Amoro pendant – these last two items pulled over 12-thousand dollars.

This is the proposed Secondary arm of Providence due to commence September 2010

This is the proposed Secondary arm of Providence due to commence September 2010

The Mitsubishi Io-Pajero was brought in Duty Free and was sold in a Live auction for 185-thousand, so those along with other items from PEL – Paul’s Enterprises Limited, Apes Hill Club, Surfside Gym, Pisces Restaurant among many others made a significant contribution in developing the Secondary aspect of Providence.

Some of the Patrons busy bidding that night

Some of the Patrons busy bidding that night

The service that night was amazing both at bar and the serving of snacks – staff teleport from nowhere asking if you want another drink or would you like a shrimp dumpling (those were cool, they had wasabi {Japanese green horseradish} and chili-peppers, so they were rather zesty). Other nibbles included jaw-breakers of Ham-cutters with lettuce and cole-slaw inside, plus Mini-Pizzas (No they were really MINI, they were the size of a silver dollar), spring rolls, and hors d’oeuvres after hors d’oeuvre!

Rosemary crooning under a laser-light display

Rosemary crooning under a laser-light display

Then there were those who gave of time and service as well as support in sponsorship – Williams Equipment, Virgo Communications, Top Car Rentals, Trident Wines, DB Productions, Forever Flowers, Newspaper Direct, Remy Martin/Mount Gay, Creative Junction and so many others were involved in making the night the spectacular it was.

"We Are The World" with more providence students & the redoubtable Robert Pilon

"We Are The World" delivered by more Providence students & the redoubtable Robert Pilon

Rosemary Phillips now lives in France, but returned home for this benefit. She sang many old jazz standards but she seemed better when she did French like the work of Josephine Baker who adopted 35 children from different races and religions. Which for Rosemary seemed like another version of Providence as the cultures of the children are so diverse.

If I am invited back next year I hope I can earn better seating for photography, as I felt rather like when you stare through binoculars the wrong way!

4 Responses

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  1. Nice Entry, great school – will recommend to any parent

  2. How did the school escape attention? If I had kids I’d be sure to send them there.

  3. Thanks for covering this it was essential for a report I am currently writing for my class.

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