From Spirit of Montserrat Online. 2009

The Annual Montserrat Calabash Festival commenced on Saturday, July 11 with a big family fun day at the Brades Primary School grounds, featuring an 11/11 cricket match which was won by the Tamil Stars Sports Club who later donated their winnings of $1,000.00 EC to the Golden Years Home for the Elderly.

The highlight of the weekend's activities was a fashion show on Saturday 11th July, dubbed Fashion Fusion Calabash Style. The show which featured three of the island's top fashion designers, Cheryl Cassell of Kassel's Design, Prisca Marshall of Sankofah and Irene Lee of Kreative Stitch was described as quite impressive and exciting. There was also an appearance by Montserrat born designer Bernadette Francis who now resides in the Island of Antigua. The exquisite pieces modelled were designed and made by Bernadette some of which were made from the Montserrat Sea Island cotton.

On Sunday 12th July the group gave thanks by worshipping at the Roman Catholic Church in Look Out. The Calabash Exhibition opened on Monday 13th July at the Montserrat National Trust in Salem. This was followed by an Island bus tour with Montserrat Tour and Taxi Association on Wednesday 15th July, and the annual Dr. George Irish Lecture series, which was well attended at the Brades, Arts and Education Centre. The presenter was Montserrat born playwright Mr. David Edgecombe who now resides in St. Thomas of the United States Virgin Island.

Other activities include a Calabash Food Fair that will be held on Friday 17th at the Public Market in Little Bay, and a Friday Night Lime & Bingo at the Lyme in Brades, a Hike to Rendezvous Bay Beach on Saturday 18th July, and an Island Boat Tour to the abandoned capital Plymouth culminating at Rendezvous Beach on Sunday 19th July and Monday 19th July respectively.

The highlight of this year's event will be a Night of Jazz featuring "African King of Jazz" Paul Lunga, saxophonist Tony Chambers and celebrated jazz/reggae saxophonist Arturo Tappin, who has performed with the likes of Monty Alexander, the late Luther Vandross, world renowned reggae band Third World and reggae artist, Maxi Priest.

The festival is named after the fruit of the calabash tree which after being cut open and scooped out, can be used as a dish, a storage container, a lantern, musical instrument, fashion jewellery or handbags. The calabash has for centuries been an indispensable multi-purpose item in the homes of Montserratians and has been identified as a cultural item.

July 2011 Spirit of Montserrat Alive:
Dr. Irish Series Brings Innovation to Local Business

By Ashley Lindsay
BRADES, Montserrat - It was a night full of rich information and open conversation; on the evening of Tuesday, July 19th, ECCB Representative Lindorna Brade imparted a wealth of knowledge to local business owners and operators on the island of Montserrat.

Three days into Montserrat's annual Calabash Festival, Mrs. Brade lead an informative presentation entitled, "Managing Your Money in these Hard Economic Times", at the Lyme located in Brades. Though the turnout was small, the presentation was eagerly followed by an open forum that brought to light a number of issues that plague local business owners.

Mrs. Brade began the lecture with the following premise: "Managing Business Will Better Help You to Manage Money". She continued on to outline the problematic circumstances that have contributed to the global economic crisis as they pertain to small businesses. Though a bleak economic outlook was presented, Mrs. Brade concluded her presentation with a list of key focus points for business operators including amongst others, attention to core needs, reducing debts, cutting costs, and prioritizing customer service.

As the lecture came to a close, Mrs. Brade offered yet another striking piece of advice for both fresh and experienced entrepreneurs: "Think Critically and Act Strategically."" With many accolades following the presentation, audience members dove into a forthright discussion regarding the concerns of local businesses in the grand scheme of the Caribbean economy. Though many issues were left unresolved, audience members surely left with a refreshing outlook to managing their money and businesses.

July 2011 Spirit of Montserrat Online

Celebrating the Blessings of Lifeā€¦The Calabash Gospel Concert

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By Ashley Lindsay

LOOKOUT, Montserrat - Entering into the fourth night of Montserrat's Calabash Festival on July 20th, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church overflowed with locals and tourists alike for the annual Gospel Concert. The evening was full of distinguished art and talent ranging from vocalists to well versed musicians from across the island. It was truly a jovial night of praise as only two days before, on July 18th, marked the 16th anniversary of the Soufriere Hills volcanic explosion.

Tomeika Jefferey

Chairman Ann-Marie Dewar acted as Mistress of Ceremonies for this year's concert, introducing a slew of vocalists and musicians. Part one of the Gospel Concert included the melodious rhythms of Caribbean music with string band The Magnificent 7 and vocalist group Instruments of Praise. Young singer Tomeika Jefferey and musician Fazil Moinnodeen also contributed their praise offerings during the festive event.

Part two of the concert included violinist Essealene Martin and the young men's group Save our Sons representing the Church of God of Prophecy in St. Johns. A young David Mendez truly warmed each and every heart after performing gospel songs in English and Spanish. Though beginning with a rough start, the James Family aroused joy and excitement across each pew with a rendition of "Victory in Jesus", led by saxophone and keyboard accompaniment.

Montserrat's rising star, Ayanna Irish, quite literally ended the concert with a bang, hitting musical notes that could be heard from Lookout through to parts of Old Towne. As the concert's featured artist, Ayanna's youthful yet charming personality won the crowd's hearts with each and every selection, including an encore song entitled "One Last Goodbye", written in honor of Ayanna's late mother. With a deep rooted reason for celebration, this year's Gospel Concert truly glorified life's blessings after nearly two decades of rebuilding, revamping, and revitalizing the Emerald Isle of Montserrat.

View more photos from Calabash Festival on Spirit of Montserrat.