Musgrave Awards recipients thankful

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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What do two poets, an arranger/musician, a boy's school choir, author, and avid collector of ceramics have in common?

They are all recipients of the 2018 Musgrave Awards presented last Wednesday by the Institute of Jamaica.

These six representatives of the arts — Professor Mervyn Morris and Peter Ashbourne (gold); Jean Breeze and the Kingston College Chapel Choir (silver); and Professor Oswald Harding and Roland Watson-Grant (bronze) — were among individuals recognised with the prestigious award.

The Musgrave is the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, having been first awarded in 1897 by Governor of Jamaica Sir Anthony Musgrave in recognition of notable contributions in literature, science and art.

The other four recipients were Professor Basil Burke (gold), Professor Henry Lowe (silver), and Dr Leo Douglas (bronze ) for their contribution to science. Arthur Williams III received the Youth Award for his contribution to entrepreneurship and public policy.

Morris responded on behalf of the recipients. The former poet laureate was succinct in his remarks but drove home a sense of appreciation felt by himself and fellow awardees.

“The Mugrave Awards recognise contributions in literature, science and art, and this year we have added music composition, performance and poetry. All the awardees have felt and explored their umbilical connection to Jamaica. We therefore thank the Institute of Jamaica and its selection committee for a most memorable event,” said Morris.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer, Breeze was excited at being recognised at home. She was previously awarded the Member of the British Empire in England for her work in literature and poetry.

“This rubbishes the notion that a queen is never recognised in her homeland. For me, to be given a Musgrave medal alongside Professor Mervyn Morris is just amazing... I love that man. The right words are just not coming to me at this time to express how I truly feel — wonderful!” said Breeze.

For conductor of the Kingston College Chapel Choir, Audley Davidson, it is a highly appreciated accolade.

“It is just wonderful. On behalf of the boys, we humbly accept and vow to work even harder in the coming years.”

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