If the Dominican Cultural area could be compared to Mount Olympus, home of the Gods, Alwin would be Zeus, God of gods. It is hard to speak of him in the past tense because he is that kind of icon, whose contribution lives on and flourishes in the hearts of the people he touched and the places where he tarried. He seems immortal.
For over 40 years Alwin, and in fact the Bully family has been a constant in my life. When I returned home in 1981 fresh from the Jamaica School of Music, now the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, I joined the Dominica Division of Culture and enjoyed a front row seat in the master craftsman’s workshop. Those of us who worked with Alwin knew him to be the kind of head of department who would dream big – No mountain was too high, no river too wide, everything was possible. He was guided by a fierce love for country and the Caribbean region and under his watch Dominica distinguished itself as a gem on the Caribbean Cultural landscape particularly in the area of the preservation of traditional arts.
As a member of the People’s Action Theatre, more often than not in the role of musician, I thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with Alwin as he created and staged all these wonderful musicals and plays he treated with a style he termed, calypso theatre whereby he incorporated music into the piece. It allowed me a tremendous amount of opportunity for growth as a composer, arranger, performer and musical director. Alwin, though an artistic comet, well known and highly respected in the region, would always find the time to assist and advise me as I directed my little Convent Prep Choir, the Kairi school of Music Children’s choir and later the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers. One can say I was strategically positioned to assess the true measure of the man. He was gifted, generous, kind and very humble. He was a hard- working man of good character, always exhibiting a high level of integrity.
His loving, loveable family was ever so hospitable, embracing all of Alwin’s friends and colleagues. Anita, his right hand of a wife, who was devoted and stoic to the end, his super talented children, sons Pio (deceased) and Brent and daughter (my goddaughter) Sade, they were is army, they were his panacea. He drew energy from their love and support.
Alwin was a larger than life personality. His spirit is enshrined in the hearts of those of us who journeyed with him along his path of life. We promise to hold high the torch he has thrown.