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N.Y. Caribbean Week Kickoff Featuring V.I. Artists

May 28, 2004 – Two musical artists from the Virgin Islands, saxophonist Ron Blake and gospel singer Belinda Telemaque, will perform at the Caribbean Tourism Organization Interfaith Celebration at mid-day Monday in New York City that will kick off annual Caribbean Week activities.
The celebration will be an ecumenical service at St. Georges's Episcopal Church in Midtown Manhattan. Bishop E. Don Taylor, former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands, will be the keynote speaker.
The gathering is expected to attract Caribbean tourism officials, New York city and state authorities, members of the diplomatic corps and a cross section of New York's Caribbean-American community, according to publicity. Accomplished musicians from throughout the Caribbean are scheduled to perform.
"A music concert and the giving of thanks are island traditions that are extremely suitable for a Memorial Day event and the start of a Caribbean program," V.I. Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards, who is first vice-chair of the CTO, said in a release from Martin Public Relations, the territory's mainland publicity agency.
Blake's most recent CD recording, for Mack Avenue Records, is "Lest We Forget," a tribute to jazz greats Charles Earland, Stanley Turrentine and Grover Washington Jr. A St. Thomas native who now lives in New York, Blake has shared the stage with celebrated bassist Christian McBride, who produced "Lest We Forget," and jazz masters Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Gary Bartz, Arthur Taylor and Jimmy Hamilton.
He also has collaborated over the years with fellow Virgin Islanders — drummer Dion Parson, bassist Reuben Rogers and trumpeter Rashawn Ross, a member of the current Ron Blake Organ Band.
Telemaque, also a St. Thomian, has held a number of religious leadership roles. She currently is solo vocalist and a praise team member for a congregation in Florida of more than 8,000 members and is the minister of music for Belinda Music, which recently released a well- received recording in three cities in Japan.
She has opened for gospel artists Vickie Winans, CeCe Winans and Angela Christie and has made guest appearances on the Florida-affiliate station of Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Taylor, currently assistant Episcopal bishop for New York City, served in the Virgin Islands for seven years, where he was known for his outreach activities, including programs for youth, the establishment of Episcopal Charities Inc. and the operation of a diocesan radio studio on St. Thomas. Richards, a personal friend, invited Taylor to attend the CTO ecumenical service with the V.I. delegation, the release stated.
For more information about the activities scheduled through next Saturday, visit the Caribbean Week Web site.

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