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HomeNewsArchivesOctober Sunday Brings Sweet Music, Sad 'Thank Yous'

October Sunday Brings Sweet Music, Sad 'Thank Yous'

Fred and Polly Watts talk about their decision to pass on organizing October Sunday at this year's event.What do you say to two of the island’s musical icons when, after almost four decades, they relinquish their shared baton?

To Fred and Polly Watts, who founded October Sunday, you say a monumental "thank you, we love you: don’t go away!"

Those were the sentiments expressed Sunday at the 38th annual October Sunday Beach Jam at Magens Bay, where the island’s longest songfest brought music – from autoharps, dulcimers, guitars, saxophones and tambourines to violins and just about any other musical instrument you can think of, rang out of shed four Sunday.

The Watts spoke about their decision, a little hesitantly at first, not owning up to the integral role they’ve played in the community over the years.

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So, what are your memories over all these years? "Well," said Fred, "it almost never rained; we never got rained out." Then there were the storms, if you want to call that "rain."

After Hurricane Marilyn struck the island in 1995, they held a scaled-down version of the celebration at Emancipation Garden, raising almost $4,000 for the American Red Cross and offering a boost to the spirits of the community, many of whose members were living under the blue FEMA tarps.

The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Jazz Band swings at October Sunday.Fred said that in August this year, when the planning really gets in gear, "We looked at each other and said, ‘maybe it’s time.’"

So, after all these decades executing the popular community fundraiser – a labor of love, for sure – the Watts decided to pass the baton of organizing the event to the Family Resource Center.

Vernon Araujo, FRC development director, was delighted at the opportunity.

"The event has raised thousands of dollars for (FRC) throughout its years," Aruajo said. "We aim to raise more funds this year than ever before with a fresh musical lineup, the delicious potluck buffet and everything else to honor Fred and Polly."

And that’s just what Aruajo was doing Sunday, watching over everything while the Watts relaxed. Organizing, no, but performing, always, which they did later gaining many cheers.

The couple’s abiding interest is nurturing the island’s young talent, as witnessed by the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Jazz Band, which was playing an electrifying version of "Summertime," as we spoke. Under the guidance of Dionne Donadelle, who had directed the band for the past 10 years, the group just seems to get better each year, poised, professional, in the spirit of the big bands. They had almost everybody dancing.

Polly talked about a new Student Performance Initiative under the Arts Alive program in Tillett Gardens that she and fellow board members Larry Benjamin and Janine Ballard conceived.

"It’s with an eye toward helping the students get started in musical careers," Watts said. "We’ve formed a student combo who had their first performance last season. We hope it’s the beginning of a long-lasting effort."

Performing Sunday were Tommy August & the Rum Syndicate, the IEKHS Jazz Ensemble, Flipswitch, Family and Friends, Brock JW & Jugga Rock, WNOt and the Dizzy Lizard Band.

A list of names commemorating people who died as a result of domestic violence.All proceeds went to the Family Resource Center, which held a flea market, sold popcorn and had face painting for the kids.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the FRC, it evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October 1981 and was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.

The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state and national levels. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.

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Fred and Polly Watts talk about their decision to pass on organizing October Sunday at this year's event.What do you say to two of the island's musical icons when, after almost four decades, they relinquish their shared baton?

To Fred and Polly Watts, who founded October Sunday, you say a monumental "thank you, we love you: don't go away!"

Those were the sentiments expressed Sunday at the 38th annual October Sunday Beach Jam at Magens Bay, where the island's longest songfest brought music – from autoharps, dulcimers, guitars, saxophones and tambourines to violins and just about any other musical instrument you can think of, rang out of shed four Sunday.

The Watts spoke about their decision, a little hesitantly at first, not owning up to the integral role they've played in the community over the years.

So, what are your memories over all these years? "Well," said Fred, "it almost never rained; we never got rained out." Then there were the storms, if you want to call that "rain."

After Hurricane Marilyn struck the island in 1995, they held a scaled-down version of the celebration at Emancipation Garden, raising almost $4,000 for the American Red Cross and offering a boost to the spirits of the community, many of whose members were living under the blue FEMA tarps.

The Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Jazz Band swings at October Sunday.Fred said that in August this year, when the planning really gets in gear, "We looked at each other and said, 'maybe it's time.'"

So, after all these decades executing the popular community fundraiser – a labor of love, for sure – the Watts decided to pass the baton of organizing the event to the Family Resource Center.

Vernon Araujo, FRC development director, was delighted at the opportunity.

"The event has raised thousands of dollars for (FRC) throughout its years," Aruajo said. "We aim to raise more funds this year than ever before with a fresh musical lineup, the delicious potluck buffet and everything else to honor Fred and Polly."

And that's just what Aruajo was doing Sunday, watching over everything while the Watts relaxed. Organizing, no, but performing, always, which they did later gaining many cheers.

The couple's abiding interest is nurturing the island's young talent, as witnessed by the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School Jazz Band, which was playing an electrifying version of "Summertime," as we spoke. Under the guidance of Dionne Donadelle, who had directed the band for the past 10 years, the group just seems to get better each year, poised, professional, in the spirit of the big bands. They had almost everybody dancing.

Polly talked about a new Student Performance Initiative under the Arts Alive program in Tillett Gardens that she and fellow board members Larry Benjamin and Janine Ballard conceived.

"It's with an eye toward helping the students get started in musical careers," Watts said. "We've formed a student combo who had their first performance last season. We hope it's the beginning of a long-lasting effort."

Performing Sunday were Tommy August & the Rum Syndicate, the IEKHS Jazz Ensemble, Flipswitch, Family and Friends, Brock JW & Jugga Rock, WNOt and the Dizzy Lizard Band.

A list of names commemorating people who died as a result of domestic violence.All proceeds went to the Family Resource Center, which held a flea market, sold popcorn and had face painting for the kids.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the FRC, it evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October 1981 and was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.

The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state and national levels. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.