It was an evening of love and appreciation as the Royal Barbados Police Force musical fraternity celebrated the distinguished life of one of its most talented members.
The Director of Music for the Royal Barbados Police Force band, Mr Keith McDonald Ellis B. S. M, was the star of the night, as the force celebrated his legacy with a retirement ceremony held at UWI Cave Hill. Members of the force, past and present, came together under one roof to recount their numerous interactions with the man who gave steadfast service to the organization for the last 52 years.
Mr Ellis, who first started off as a band apprentice on the of June 1, 1966, quickly rose up through the ranks, due to his dedication to the force, and his undying love for music. On the 1st of September 1970, he became a police constable, number 757. Upon entering the regional police training center, he easily completed the program and was given a glowing citation which stated that he had the ability to become a great police officer.
From that moment, one could say the rest was history. Though he was always known as a man of few words, he quickly progressed through the ranks until 2010, when he became Deputy Director of the band. It was a mere three years later that saw him being cemented into the Director of Music’s chair.
Mr Andrew Lynch, a superintendent within the force, remarked on how Mr Ellis was known throughout the force for being a dedicated man and someone who showed much integrity. “In all his movements of progression, there was a common stream, and notes were made that he was an outstanding, dedicated, and committed member of the band. He was acknowledged as an outstanding musician, arranger, trumpet player, and even a lecturer. He held the responsibility in his earlier years for the military training of the band apprentices and was [known] for his commitment to the job.”
Inspector David Codrington delivered the citation of the night, which painted a truly deep and moving picture of the amount, and quality of service Mr Ellis gave to the force for over 5 decades, and he also took time out to share how he got his big break with the band in the beginning stages.
“In 1973, the band was preparing for a tour to England and needed additional personnel. He was highly thought of and recommended that he join the ranks of the band for the tour. Upon returning from the tour, the then director of music, Mr Prince Cave, expressed that he was a special talent, and a valuable asset to the band, and he will have to remain in the band… the rest was history.”