A cultural stalwart and a long serving musical group were honored on November 3, 2015 at National Cultural Gala which formed part of the island’s Independence celebrations.
Edney Paul Francis, of the community of Petite Savanne received the Lifetime Achievement Award while the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers was awarded the E.O Leblanc Trophy for the development and promotion of choral music.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Pearle Christian, Director of the Sixth Form Sisserou singers told reporters shortly afterwards.
According to her, her mantra is “anything worth doing is worth doing well” and if one can do a good thing well, while one’s best may not be excellent, “people will appreciate it.”
She said the group feels fufilled although it doesn’t really peform to receive awards.
“They feel appreciated as young people,” Christian added.
According to group’s citiation, the Sixth Form Sisserou singers was established in 1994 by the Division of Culture in collaboration with the Sixth Form College, now the Dominica State College (DSC).
The Sisserou Singers performs at a number of events throughout the year but mounts to two main events annually.
The groups performs at it annual choral music production held in July and a humanitarian tour organized during the Christmas season, to benefit disadvantaged children and for residents housed in various homes for the aged.
The most recent stint was a successful post Erika relief concert in aid of the Petite Savanne Community.
The group has in the past copped the special recognition award from the National Cultural Council for its outstanding work in the area of development and promotion of choral music on the island.
Meantime Francis, who is visually impaired partially, said he is thankful to everyone for the recognition.
“If I was seeing light I would be up in the air going,” he said following by much laughter. “But I’m not seeing light so I have to stay where I am.”
His citation said that he has been an accordion player from the inception of the Petite Savanne Cultural group in 1964, and is able to play every instrument in the Jing Ping band.
“He has been an outstanding ambassador for Dominica throughout his superior performance of our traditional music regionally and internationally,” the citation reads.
He has performed in many countries including Martinique, Guadeloupe, Marie Galante, Antigua, St. Croix and represented the country in England on the occasion of a Commonwealth meeting where he played for a varied world audience.
He has also received the Golden Drum Award in 2004.
The citation continues, “Although partially blind, his dexterous hands still skillfully manage the accordion to produce the most melodious music. Edney Paul Francis is indeed a Dominican cultural icon.”
Both the Sisserou Singers and Francis gave a demonstration of their skills to an appreciative audience at the Botanical Gardens, where the Cultural Gala took place.
Other performances at the gala came from the NBD Possie Culture pan, Capuchin Cultural group, Damasus Challenger with Kont, creative dance by the Vielle Case Primary school, Kokoy song by the W.S Stevens primary school, drumming ensemble by the Siboulie/Massacre Cultural group, the Karina Cultural Group, the Flamboyant Dancers, and bamboo flute by Paulinus Frederick, among others.