Charmaine Blackman, 11 others receive New York awards
By Lin-Jay Harry-Voglezon
Brooklyn, US – Several Guyanese were honored Wednesday night during the 11th Annual Awards Ceremony of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc. (GCA).
Under the theme, “Masquerade Lives”, the 12 persons from Guyana, Canada, the Caribbean, and the USA, including one posthumously, were acknowledged for their accomplishments in education, the performing arts, masquerade, community activism and cultural promotion.
The awards ceremony was held at the Borough Hall, Brooklyn.
Among the awardees is well know music personality, Charmaine Blackman, a professional singer for 22 years, Marilyn P. Dewar, principal of The Dewars Music School, who travelled to the US for the occasion.
Blackman who “has appeared on stage with the cream of Caribbean and International Artistes” is arguably “Guyana’s most recorded voice with over 300 performances…”.
Among other things, she was contracted by the Golden Princess Cruise Line for nine weeks and appeared at many international Caribbean festivals. She is recognized as a cultural ambassadress of Guyana.
Dewar is said to be excellent at the piano, guitar and the organ and is fascinated with the violin and violoncello. She has not only got formal groundings in the teaching of music and music administration from the Cyril Potter College and the University of Guyana, in addition to acquiring a Master’s Degree in Education from Framingham University, Massachusetts, but has experienced the mentorship of outstanding musical personalities such as Miriam Daniels, Daphne Scott, Francis Percival Loncke, John Bunbury, Edith Peters, Meighan Duke, Lynette and Celeste Dolphin, and the Pilgrim brothers.
As a music educator, with over 40 years in music, Dewar in responding to her Lifetime Award expressed gratitude for the inputs of those persons and pleaded with the Guyanese emigrants to help Guyana in its cultural development, especially in music.
Rudolph “Putagee” Vivierios who started his Masquerade career at age 7, like Andron Alphonso both received Exemplary Awards.
Lionel Blackett, who in his late 80s, received the Enabler Award, for single-handedly contributing to ensuring the survival of Masquerade for over 75years.
Other recipients of the Enabler Award are Dr. Alissa Trotz, Derry Etkins (Educator/Musician), Maurice G. Blenman (Photogapher), Mel Carpen (Community Activist), Dr. Lear Matthews (Educator), Joseph Burgan-Trotman (Artiste), Rosalind Kilkenny Mc Lymont, (Lecturer/Journalist), and the late Judge Elrich Eastman.
Dr. Alissa Trotz is Director of Caribbean Studies at University of Toronto, coordinator and editor of Guyana Stabroek News Diaspora.
Besides being a recipient of several prior awards of merit and excellence, having contributions in the media and academic journals, she is recognized as an advocate for innovative ways of enhancing the quality of life of those who lack higher education.
Derry Etkins is another music educator and recent music journalist. His more than 30-year’s career transcended Guyana, Barbados, and the British Virgin Islands where he established “The St. George’s Muzik Lab” which performs at the annual Jazz Festival etc. He played in several bands, notably, the well-known “Telstars” and “The Graduates”.
Described as a “Cultural Enabler”, professional photographer and videographer, Maurice G. Blenman was once attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government Information Services. Films such as “If Wishes Were Horses” and “Operation Makanima” are to his credit as well as several documentaries on and inclusive of Guyana. Blenman, whose work took him extensively in the Caribbean, Europe, African, and the USA is a founder of Folk Festival in New York and board member of GCA.
Community activist, Mel Carpen, is founder of Guyana Day Inc. a cultural organization of Queens, New York, which brings together Guyanese artists of all ages for multicultural and multidisciplinary expression and preservation of Guyanese cultural heritage.
Joseph Burgan-Trotman, the “Mighty Enchanter” from Wakenaam, was recognized for his contributions to the “development of Chutney through the Afro-Indi beat” and his “skillful ability to deliver social messages”.
Dr. Lear Matthews, former UG lecturer and current professor at the Department of Community and Human services, State University of New York, and Empire State College, is credited with about 50 journal articles which address among other things, psycho-social issues of Guyanese and Caribbean immigrants in the USA, adaptation to North American culture and school system, occupational change, crime in the Caribbean, mental health etc.
Many of his writings are included in college curricula in the United States and the Caribbean. He is a licensed Social Worker, editorial board member of the Caribbean Journal of Social Work, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Caribbean-American Social Workers Association, former director of Bedford Stuyvesant Community Mental Health Centre and former President of New York Tutorial Support Group.
“Cultural Enabler” and journalist Rosalind Kilkenny Mc Lymont “ has an extensive career in global entrepreneurship. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Network Journal, a business magazine for Black professional and entrepreneurs, author of the award winning non-fiction “Africa: Strictly Business, The Steady March to Prosperity”, and the groundbreaking novel “Middle Ground”.
As lecturer/advisor she served as Executive Board Member of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, on NYU’s graduate programme in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, UNDP’s Gender Programme for African Women, the Alliance of Russian and American Women, and American and African Business Women’s Alliance. Ms McLymont, a recipient of several awards, inclusive of “Woman History Maker” by the Caribbean-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has also been a language teacher in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The late judge Elrich Eastman is the posthumous recipient of the Award for Community Service. Born of Guyanese parentage in Washington, D.C, his legal career spanned 60 years and earned him the prestigious National Bar Association’s Distinguished Award in the Attorneys Hall of Fame. He is recognized by GCA for his community work at building multiracial and cohesion among Guyanese and West-Indian social groups, in addition to his pioneering civil rights activities.