CCRP Christmas Concert 2021 - Sharing the Christmas Spirit through talent

CCRP continued its virtual concert series with an evening of song, verse and instrumental harmonies dedicated to the holiday spirit, signified by Mariah Carey’s version of “Oh Holy Night” which got the proceedings underway.

In her welcome address, CCRP Founder and Executive Chair Jean Lowrie-Chin lauded the members for their continued efforts in sustaining families, communities and the country leading into the holidays. “You are bringing joy to each other  with your talent, creativity and humour,” she said. She also advised that the CCRP Board, in partnership with the Digicel Foundation, was donating $400,000 to Food for the Poor Jamaica for the provision of food and personal care packages for needy seniors across Jamaica. CCRP is undertaking the distribution of the care packages.

The festive evening was also preceded by a word from Gallagher Insurance Brokers about the new online payment facility for its CCRP Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan and Major Medical Plan, which will allow policyholders to make payments online via credit card.

The first CCRP performer was Patrice Kitson who sang “Mary, Did You Know?” from noted a capella group Pentatonix, before Lyle Armstrong set taste buds alight with a reading of Miss Lou’s “Roast Turkey”. That was followed by the first of several appearances by CCRP Board Director Dr Owen James, on harmonica on this occasion, with the classic carol “Silent Night”. James made an excellent exposition of his musical gifts, adding a blues inflection to the time-honoured tune.

Dr. Lilieth Nelson delivered a holiday-themed Anansi story “Anansi Eggs Up Inna Junkanoo Band” before Gerry McDaniel, no stranger to CCRP members as the host of the “CCRP Update” radio programme, delivered a rendition of Claude McKay’s powerful reminiscence, ‘Flame Heart” with the well-known refrain, “the poinsettia’s red, blood-red in warm December”.

Eberle “Bobby” Dawes was in a loving mood for the holidays, expressed via his rendition of Brook Benton’s 1960 R&B chart-topper “Kiddio”. There were other well-received vocal numbers, perhaps none more so than Dorett Halstead doing a Jamaicanized version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, with substitutes like “12 rude boys skanking” and “a beenie bud in a ackee tree”. Winston Sherwood crooned his way through The Christmas Song (“Chestnuts Roasting”), written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells and first made popular by Nat King Cole, and returned later in the evening with another hit from that era, Earl Grant’s “At The End Of A Rainbow”.

The virtual audience was treated to a photographic exhibition, comprising a diverse array of Jamaican scenes, from Angela Foote and later, to a video clip featuring media personality Fae Ellington alongside renowned TV chef Maisie Miller about old time Christmas and old time Jamaica in general, flame-heated iron and all.                  

There was more poetry in celebration of the season, all original, from CCRP Board Director Patricia Reid-Waugh, with “It’s Christmas”, Dr. Winsome Miller-Rowe, with “Thoughts of a Jamaican Christmas” and Maxine Brown, with “Which Santa?”  Brown is also anticipating the publication, early next year, of her book “If A Nuh so, It Near So”.        

Dr. Lilieth Nelson returned to honour the late Noel Dexter of the University Singers (of which she was also an integral part) with a robustly improvised version of “Sing de Chorus”, followed by Barbara Hylton, with another Jamaican folk-pop classic, Faith D’Aguilar’s “Santa Ketch-up inna Mango Tree”.

Dr. Owen James would also return, this time showing his poetic prowess, with a wry yet compassionate original observation, “You Get What You Pray For”. Cecile Clayton contributed the humorous “Walk Bout” by Louise Bennett which spoke of enduring the pain of shoes burning her feet while she was “in farin” before having the courage to take them off and walk barefoot. Doriana Dailey delivered a sweetly rendered Christmas song and fittingly, Dr. Owen James closed the programme on harmonica with “Oh Christmas Tree”. Thus thoroughly primed for the season, members ended the evening with virtual greetings and toasted the occasion.