The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) put together a grand production that was a fitting tribute to music legend Janice Millington at Frank Collymore Hall last Friday night.
It was the second of three NIFCA Tribute Nights. The first was held last Wednesday and was in honour of legendary dancer Richild Springer, while a theatre tribute was staged in memory of Andrea Gollop-Greenidge on Sunday night.
The almost-packed crowd in the hall included Governor-General Dame Sandra Husbands and her party.
Tribute was paid to Janice through music, video and spoken words. The night themed Notes of Excellence lived up to its name. The lives of each performer on stage were impacted in some way by Janice’s brilliance.
Former student and lead singer of the band Spice & Company Alan Sheppard was not at the Hall but paid tribute to his mentor and former teacher by way of video. He played the keyboard as he sang his self-penned 1993 tribute to Bob Marley called Bob’s Song.
There were other video tributes throughout the night. Tributes flowed from Joy-Ann Wood, Ann Stoute, Kit Spencer, Frank Coppin, Lee Callender and Lauren Ramdhanny. But the two most touching video tributes came from Nicholas Branker and Mike Grosvenor.
Mike spoke of Janice’s impact on his band, Wendy Alleyne and the Dynamics. Janice arranged all the songs on the band’s album Love. He said as musical director, Janice toured with them throughout the Caribbean offering invaluable guidance and support.
Mike recalled one night while on tour when he “played the wrong chord”. He told Janice that he played the “wrong chord” and she replied: “Mr Grosvenor, I didn’t hear the wrong chord. I heard a new innovation.”
Nicholas said had it not been for Janice’s love of music and her pushing the formation of a Music Department in a school that was all about the sciences, academics and getting multiple certificates, he would have left Harrison College.
He credits her for the man and ace musician he is today, saying: “She was one of the true mentors of my life. Everything that I do is testament to her. Everything that I do…”
The icing on the cake was a video tribute of Janice Millington playing the piano.
The school in which she spent decades teaching her love of music paid tribute to her in song. They did The Battle of Jericho and BabaYetu in the first half and a variation of Bridgetown Market, accompanied by The Most Honourable Dr Anthony Gabby Carter as the grand finale. The choir was ably conducted by Dionne Timothy. And although the night was packed with solid first class entertainment, one still felt as though we needed to hear more from our cultural ambassador.
Also on stage for the Finale were Dr Stefan Walcott, Petra Welch, Neil Newton and Andre Woodvine.
Earlier in the night, the audience was treated to a musical tribute from former student and protégé John Roett. He performed a song he composed seven years ago in memory of the legendary musician. He played the piano during his delivery of the Three Moods of Janice.
Top musicians Roger Gittens and Andre Woodvine performed an instrumental called Here Comes Janice while The Stefan Walcott Trio did Sunshine Roxy. The trio is made up of Walcott on piano, Petra Welch on drums and Neil Newton on guitar.
The Barbados National Youth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Joy Knight was masterful. The group of young talented musicians performed with Crystal Cummins-Beckles Holder and Abraham Millington who sang The Prayer as well as with ace saxophonist Auturo Tappin. Auturo and the orchestra did an enthralling rendition of Pan In A Minor and Beautiful Barbados.
Pianist Nikita Vaughn played Nocturne Opus 2 No.9 while violinist Jennique Taylor accompanied by Roger Worrell played Sonato in D minor, Op.12, No.1 (4th Movement Rondo). Violinist Shawn Holder, violinist Dr Katrina Nurse and pianist John Burnett opened the show with 1st Movement Double Violin Concerto in D Minor.
The band 2 Mile Hill which has three members who were taught music by Janice performed as well. They sang Get Over, Let It Go and Conversations. (IMC)