This time of year is filled with family events. The one that marked the beginning of a season of feasting was, of course, Thanksgiving. This year, as has happened for several years we were included in the gathering of the clan at Casa Carrillo for turkey day. This journey to the west end of St. Thomas has become something of a tradition. The joy of being included as extended family in a family as large as the Carrillo’s is rather special, especially as my own family is so small in number.
The luncheon spread was as usual…. bounteous. And in true Carrillo style there were several cooks who outdid themselves in preparing enough food to feed an army. Janice Popo prepared saltfish quiche, red beans and rice and mac and cheese, while her daughter, Anisa Febres, did the potato salad and traditional stuffing. Anisa’s sis-in-law, Zolayma prepared the corn pudding, salmon in coconut milk, candied yams with a yummy gooey marshmallow topping, and a veggie chili, while Angela Henry contributed spinach balls and the scrumptious baked ham. Among the many desserts were pumpkin pies baked by Camelia Febres.
An extra special part of this Thanksgiving was the surprise of being able to share the day with Raul’s brother Cheito, who was visiting from Puerto Rico with his wife Awilda.
UVI’s Music division hosted a very special afternoon of jazz piano recently. Division chair, Dr. Lorna Young Wright introduced award winning pianist, Mischa Piergorski, who was visiting St. Thomas for the first time with his wife, Ayelet and son, Rafael and daughter, Anatalya. When Dr. Young Wright introduced the winner of the Thelonious Monk award, she remarked that his name sounded more like he would be a violinist. But this remarkable talent was smooth as silk on the ivories from his opening composition which was a tribute to his visit through his closing number from his up coming new album. The piece that made us sit up and take particular notice was entitled, “Three Tears at Midnight”, in which the bass notes of the piano were used like a tympanic instrument. Just fabulous!
Commenting that this was the first time that he performed a concert in sandals, Mischa asked, “Who studies here?” He was wondering how any of UVI’s students were able to pursue their studies in the face of the splendid beauty of their surroundings. This was the first time that he had performed a concert in sandals.
In the audience enjoying this terrific treat were, Mary Alexander, Glenroy Warrington, with his son, Ade who is himself a rising young music star, VI piano virtuoso, Louis Taylor, Monique Purguy, Patricia Harkins Pierre, Vincent Cooper, coloratura soprano, Magda Rodriguez, along with UVI students Jalisa Richardson, Shamoi Rodgers and Omari Williams. We also saw Linda Christian with her daughters and granddaughter, Elise Leval, Rosalie Dance, Adrian Bishop, Zawadi Dance and her daughter, Ayanna.
The Forum hosted a son of the soil at Prior-Jollek Hall last week. And what a celebration it was. Pulitzer prize-winning photojournalist, Damon Winter was back home in St. Thomas to share his incredible talents with a very appreciative audience. The soft spoken Winter who is a New York Times photographer had unprecedented access to President Barak Obama during the campaign of 2008. As a result, he snagged some of the most intriguing photographs of the then candidate on his journey to the White House. Winter showed slides of some of the photos that won him the coveted 2009 Pulitzer for Feature Photography. But he also shared how he would wait to capture the perfectly crafted shot, like the final one in the series he showed. He waited for a cloud to move across the sky until he caught candidate Obama in a rare grand gesture pointing skyward, just as the cloud hovered over his head. Great shot!
Before the show began Winter greeted long time friends and classmates from his days at All Saints Cathedral School. Among them were, graphic artist, Ryan Boschulte who said that Winter had showed no interest in photography when in high school.
Enjoying the show were, Damon’s Mom and girlfriend, also, Neil and Trudie Prior, Katina Coulianos, April Newland, Dr. Al Heath, Patrick and Yannick Bayard, Steve Prosterman, Mary Gleason, Thyra Hammond, Karen Bertrand, Addie Ottley, Joanne Bozzutto, Catherine Kean, and Henry Wheatley. We also spotted Ricardo Charaf, Brian and Victoria Squires, Terry and Suzanne Robinson, Bernita and Mic Akin, Patrick and Yannick Bayard, Penny and Hank Feuerzeig and fellow photographer, Don Hebert.
In addition to the campaign photos, Winter shared some of his other work including shots from his travels across the globe. The pride in Winter’s accomplishments by his St. Thomas admirers was palpable.