Pride of Wilson Hill

Wendell Calender,

Added 06 November 2012

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It was a demonstration of pride and industry that would please any heart. There in Wilson Hill, St John, on Saturday, a manifestation of a spirit clearly in sync with the sentiments of Barbados’ motto enwrapped itself around us. In this month of Independence, the Pride of Wilson Hill Community and Folk Group gave true meaning to the best in Barbadian values as the group culminated a week-long celebration of its 16th anniversary.   At its well-appointed and maintained clubhouse, the group was hosting a fish fry and karaoke with all seats in the clubhouse and adjoining tent taken up. The attendance reflected the popularity of the rural group and the drive which is seen in its every activity. One of the first patrons we met confirmed the enthusiasm with which the group went about promoting its activities. Valdene Harris, of Venture, St John, who is a member of the Newbury Nazarene Church, told us that she was attending the fish fry and karaoke on invitation of the group when they visited the church for their anniversary service on the previous Sunday. For Janelle Mayers, who was in the company of Valdene, it had become a habit to attend the group’s events. She informed us that her deceased brother, Errol “Fatman” Mayers, was a member of the folk group. Carol-Ann Wiltshire, a member of the group for over ten years, was chatting with these two women and they were all in good spirit. The activities had brought out the best in them.   President of the group, Sonia Moore, who was quite busy ensuring that the patrons were being well serviced, still found time to provide some information on the club. For her, their greatest pride was the awards the group received over the years for the work on the mini-park. From the inception of the awards programme for parks and gardens under the aegis of the Community Independence Celebrations Wilson Hill has applied itself to the beautification of an area that was once a cane field. “We have won so many times I can’t count. We win almost every year,” she quipped. In the field of performing arts, she noted that the group also holds fond memories of winning awards at NIFCA (National Independence Festival of Creative Arts).    The group’s community work in visiting senior citizens’ homes and donating to fire victims was also a source of pride. The dedication of the group to maintaining this environmentally pleasant spot was on show when Cheryl Croney-Sealy took us on a mini-tour of the well kept gardens aback the clubhouse. The mandarin, golden apple, shaddock, and lime trees interspersed with bougainvillea, flamboyant and plumbago, presided over by the spiralling casuarina trees with well manicured, carpeted grass at our feet, spoke to the kind of industry that would make any true patriot proud. Among the people we met at the event were members of Sing Out Barbados, whose director Keith Squires was spotted in the company of two of his members, Juan Sealy and Jonelle Als. “We have come to support our brothers and sisters in the art form,” he said. “We have been very close from the inception of their group. We worked with them in their formative years and we remained close.” Deputy director of Sing Out Barbados, Chelston Boyce, was also highly visible as he mingled with the members of the Pride of Wilson Hill Community and Folk Group. Distinguished cultural exponents sharing the occasion with the group also included renowned songwriter Tony Walrond and Ronald Ronnie Davis, who is the musical director of the group. As the night wore on, the celebration reached a peak with the joy being reflected in the quiet revelry of dancing to a mix of music, including Barbadian hits such as Can’t Find Muh Brother; Stinging Bees, Mr T, Rock In Ethiopia and other calypsos. At the end, the perspiration drenched bodies departed happy to have joined in celebrating with the Pride of Wilson Hill.

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