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That December feeling

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December is usually a very challenging month. It is of course the Christmas season, that brings its own demands and creates its own agenda. It’s a time when one reconnects with friends some of whom are based overseas, but return to enjoy a season of festivities that can only be experienced here. Family makes its own demands and space has to be left especially for ‘returning’ relatives. Then there are always things you want to complete before the year changes and brings its own demands. Two activities I attended recently have brought to me that special feeling one gets at this time of year.

The first, on December 9, was a fundraising activity for the Norma Keizer Scholarship Foundation, held at the Bungalow at Villa, entitled the ‘Ultimate Christmas Experience’ with Lennox, Ricky and the other Bowmans at centre stage, but also featuring other top performers, among them Bassy and Friends, Andrea Gaymes, the Saed Bowman/Geran Maule combination, Michaela Frederick, CP Hall, violinist Samuel Toka, with a monologue by Kevin Rodriquez and fashion display courtesy Kimya Glasgow. Along with the entertainment patrons were provided with Christmas hors d’oeuvres and the traditional Christmas drinks – sorrel, and ginger beer. It was an evening that provided an entrée to the season that patrons seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, the Foundation is seriously thinking of making this an annual event. Not only was it an enjoyable evening, but its purpose was one that befitted this season of giving. Apart from giving support through their presence, some donations were pledged. The Arnos Vale Covenant Assembly which was one of the first donors to the Foundation agreed to increase its annual donation and the Tust-T Water through its ‘Start Bright’ Initiative donated a seven-year scholarship to one of this year’s successful CPEA students.

The other activity that caught my fancy and which I also thoroughly enjoyed was the Arabesque Dance company “Dance Chords” show held at the Community College last Saturday and Sunday night. Not enough can be said about Juanita Phillips who has really been making an impression on dancing in this country. Her choreography is truly outstanding, and one can see clearly the kind of impact she has on her dancers.

One of the things that stood out was the use of live music, which is not a common occurrence here. On show providing the music were the likes of Shaunelle McKenzie, Zamfir Adams, Hance John, violinist Darron Andrews, drummer Shayne Wynne with Rodney Small, the Starlift Steel orchestra and the Resonance Band. The dancing was lively and the dancers energetic, graceful, and confident. Last weekend’s show was a good way for them to end their season of dancing and we look forward to seeing more of them next year.  Patrons on Sunday night, the night I attended, seemed to have been thoroughly blown away by the show.

There is always the temptation to surrender to the festivities of the season, but after all life goes on and 2019 promises us nothing but what we take into it. There are after all, also, things we hope to complete before the end of the year, while preparing for the challenges of a new year and certainly challenges there will be. High on my agenda are some books I hope to complete, by my favourite mystery writers, John Grisham, Nelson DeMille, and James Patterson. I have also found a book that I have never read by the late PD James, my all-time favourite mystery writer. Then there is Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”. It’s a tall order, but it is always good to accept challenges. 

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian

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