Written by 12:21 am Music

Honorary fellow must encourage other Tobagonians


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President Paula-Mae Weekes, right, with Annette Nicholason-Alfred, who was named honorary distinguished fellow at UTT’s graduation ceremony on the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain, Tuesday. – SUREASH CHOLAI

ANNETTE NICHOLSON-ALFRED is hoping that her being made an honorary distinguished fellow by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) will encourage other Tobagonians.

Nicholson-Alfred, 76, certainly one of the island’s cultural luminaries, was awarded the title of distinguished fellow at a ceremony on the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain on Tuesday.

RC Archbishop of Port of Spain Jason Gordon, businessman Langston Roach and late pan arranger and educator Desmond Waithe, also received the award.

Nicholson-Alfred said she knew each Roach and Waithe.

She told Newsday on Wednesday, “Langston Roach and I were in the identical yr at Bishop’s High School and I met Desmond Waithe at Mausica Teachers’ College through the Nineteen Seventies, because he was involved in music and singing.”

Nicholson-Alfred, who received the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) in 2005, has had a distinguished profession in culture, community service and education.

She is a former independent senator and founding father of the Mt Nice-based Itsy Bitsy Playhouse and Folk Theatre, which serves as a platform for a lot of up-and-coming artistes.

She can be the writer of several books, including Come Sing With Ti Netty, a compilation of folks songs from Tobago and other parts of the Caribbean. It was launched on the Scarborough Library in October 2021.

Nicholson-Alfred, from Charlotteville, first worked as a public servant and later went into teaching

While teaching, Nicholson-Alfred also worked extensively in culture and was awarded a scholarship to New York University, where she spent several years. On her return, she re-entered the general public service as a cultural officer.

“I used to be all the time a component of some group doing cultural things, because I had the Tobago Academy of the Performing Arts. I still work with Charlotteville Heritage Performers. I even have the Itsy Bitsy Players. So I even have all the time been involved in that kind of work with some group and the church.”

On Wednesday, Nicholson-Alfred said she is incredibly grateful to have been acknowledged.

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the conferral of the honorary distinguished fellow. I feel honoured to have my work and my contribution recognised by the UTT.

“I would really like to say thanks, not only to UTT for choosing me, but I’m glad to know that my life’s passion has resonated with others.”

She also thanked her husband and family, the Plymouth Best Village group of the Nineteen Seventies, Mausica Teachers’ College, Charlotteville Heritage Performers and the Tobago cultural fraternity for supporting her work through the years.

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