A memorial concert was held for Edith Dorothy Bellot on 3rd December 2017.

Ms Bellot, a Dominican, passed away on October 31st in St. Kitts and was laid to rest on 7th November 2017. Ms Bellot was the resident tutor at the extramural department of the University of the West Indies in Dominica for 21 years from 1984 to 2005 when she retired.  She was also deeply involved in musical arts and culture on the island.

The concert was organized by a group of friends and associates of Ms. Bellot during her time in Dominica and was held at the Bethesda Methodist Church. Several choirs and groups participated in paying tribute to Ms. Bellot including Sisserou Singers, RiverSong and Bethesda Methodist Choir.

The Bethesda Methodist Choir performing at the memorial

The UWI open campus website describes Ms Bellot’s passion for the students of Dominica as legendary. Vilma Mclean, a colleague, recounts Ms Bellot driving the UWI Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC) team across the island to meet the students to understand the challenges they faced in gaining access to face-to-face education.

“She left a lasting impression on us because she was always looking for perfection…everything had to be right, she would go over and over and over again until she was satisfied that you had it right…that it was what she left with us as the Methodist choir…” stated Mr. Dermott Southwell choir director of the Bethesda Methodist Choir.

Sisserou Singers also performed at the memorial

Cedric Phillip the director of RiverSong remembers Ms. Bellot as a renaissance woman, who was involved in music, education, art, science, government; essentially anything that was good. Referencing the various tributes given at the concert, he noted that Ms. Bellot never sought recognition or to be honoured for what she did. She refused to accept awards for what she thought was merely her duty or obligation in helping and caring for people in the course of her career.

Jean Jacob described Ms. Bellot as a woman par excellence

Ms. Jean Jacob, chairperson of the event, fondly recalled Ms. Bellot as a friend, role model and neighbour whose ministry was music. She said that Ms Bellot was a woman par excellence who thrilled audiences with a voice uniquely her own.

Several persons attended the memorial concert

Below is a poem which pays tribute to Edith Bellot written by her niece Christabel Sharon Philogene.

 

My Aunt

You enter the room and there is silence

All heads turn for your regal carriage is entrancing

Your face is stern but it belies the heart within

You begin to speak and your eloquence reverberates

There is no rush to get the message out,

ou ni pou kachile avan et kon  ou ca pale

Kechoj nou tout bouswen fe

for the message must be clear

You cared for all man-social strata did not matter

You believed that you could make a difference

and though not intending, left your mark.

Aunty Edith was the family glue

Not sure of the  connection, she would give a clue

Si ì se wace Bellot, ou bouswen Konet

She ensured the family history, we did not forget.

We knew the stern face did not define her, and many who

got to know her, grew to love and admire her.

She gave advice-financial and more

evoked smiles and much laughter

Over cups of tea, coffee and glasses of ‘for the stomach sake,

She had a great love for mangoes, especially lapeau ame-

that would sometimes be supper during mango season stopover.

On New Year’s day, rice and peas was a staple in the pot

And no feathers -please

Or your money would not be in your pocket

but on its own course.

 

Music was her passion and reading of course

sure contributors to often engaging discourse

Have you read this?  She would often asked

To be followed by you should, and you must,

And lest you forgot, the copy of the book of course.

The history of the Caribbean, another area of strength

To its people she believed, it provided much wealth

Not silver and gold and material things

But  signposts to guide, achievements to celebrate ,

heroes to respect and admire  and customs to preserve.

The Education of all was part of her quest and

Should you need her guidance, it would be at your behest.

Her creole culture -she adored! She navigated the seas of French

and English creole without a flaw.  Certain things had to be said in

Creole; otherwise, it would not touch to the core.

 

Your decision to leave our shore was not expected

But alas, had to be accepted

It was only St. Kitts – another Caribbean shore

The same water still lapped our doors

I remember the first day of that week in August just past,

When I walked through your door not knowing it would be the last

The smile on your face, “you’ve come to bully me,” you said

I laughed, I knew better, That would be an impossible task

It was a week of good food and stories and advice and trying to fight,

And in our quiet moments, the hints that you were preparing.

When on leaving, you asked, “when are you coming back?”

“As soon as I can”, I threw back.

Then came the unwelcome call, the type of call dreaded by all

The visits, the prayers, the futile hope and

finally ………. memories to cherish.

Si la terre te ca parle!

You were a true Caribbean Gem, Aunty Edith

You will surely be missed.

 

Christabel Sharon Philogene