Nat'l Awards gets nod


Nat'l Awards gets nod

Recipients hail ceremony's virtual staging

Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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FOR some members of the arts and entertainment community honoured with National Awards on Monday, the ceremony never lost its significance despite being staged virtually due to restrictions on public gatherings in keeping with COVID-19 prevention protocols.

Instead of the traditional ceremony on the lawns of King's House in St Andrew, the official residence of the governor general, viewers of local television and various online platforms were treated to a pre-packaged presentation which comprised the announcement of the recipient alongside moving images or photographs. The package was complemented by cultural presentations in the form of music, song, and dance.

For recording artiste and seven-time winner of the Jamaica Festival Song Contest Eric Donaldson, who received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer (OD), he felt no less pride at the virtual staging.

“It's not a problem. Everybody supposed to know what the situation is with this thing, so I still feel good. When you look at the work that we put in over the years I think I suppose to get something like this, but even so, it feels really good and I appreciate it all,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Donaldson was recognised for his outstanding service to the Jamaican music industry.

Folklorist and storyteller Dr Amina Blackwood-Meeks, who received the Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service in recognition of her contribution to Jamaican culture, told the Observer that she thoroughly enjoyed this year's format.

“I loved the virtual presentation. I don't know if it's because I love quietness but I loved that I could stay in my space and enjoy. In addition, this year I heard more of the ceremony and learned more about the people being awarded. So on those two counts, I really enjoyed the presentation,” she said.

“One of the things this whole COVID-19 situation has revealed is how different and creative we can be when faced with a challenge. Given the technology at our disposal, we can present such a high-quality event that I don't think we lost anything – in fact, we gained. Perhaps they can look to revise the plans for future stagings and even going virtual for the future,” said Blackwood-Meeks.

British broadcaster/disc jock David Rodigan was also in a celebratory mood, having been conferred with an honorary OD for his outstanding service to the promotion of Jamaican music across the world.

The popular personality took to social media to express his thanks.

“Today is a very special day for Jamaicans the world over; it's National Heroes' Day. For me also [it's a ] very special day as the Government has seen it fit to award me the Order of Distinction. The ceremony would normally take place on the grounds of King's House...Thank you again to the governor general of Jamaica for this award, for which I am humbled,” Rodigan said in a recorded post on his Instagram page.

The cultural performances, which were interspersed throughout the presentation to the recipients, included gospel artiste Jermaine Edwards, musician Stephen “Cat” Coore who delivered on cello accompanied by pianist Robbie Lyn, past winner of the Children's Gospel Song Contest Maylyn Dillon; singer/musician Jamila Falak, music educator and vocalist Michael Sean Harris, local band J-Summa and the Outlaws, and tenor Rory Baugh.

Other recipients from the arts, culture and entertainment fraternity were sociologist/author Professor Orlando Patterson, who headed the list of honorees with the Order of Merit, while king of local comedy Oliver Samuels received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD).

Among those who also received the OD were: William “Willie” Stewart, former drummer with the reggae band Third World; toaster Manley “Big Youth” Buchanan; former Byron Lee and the Dragonaires frontman Keith Lyn; Deiwght Peters, head of local modelling agency Saint International; noted dancer/choreographer Clive Thompson; and music producer Jon Baker.

Sound engineer/music producer Robert “Bobby Digital” Dixon was recognised posthumously with the OD for his contribution to the Jamaican music industry. UK-based music marketer Anthony “Chips” Richards was acknowledged with a Badge of Honour.

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