A sold-out crowd listened with ecstasy to the music of Monty Alexander and his nine-member orchestra at a recent concert at Merkin Concert Hall. The concert celebrated fifty years of Jamaican independence, Monty’s fifty years as a musical performer, Monty’s birthday, and the tenth anniversary of Heartbeats of the World.
Legendary saxophonist, Dean Fraser and Tarrus Riley, famous for “She’s Royal”, were Alexander’s special guests. The concert was arranged by Pat Chin, O.D. and Chris Chin. Pat Chin and Sabrina HoSang were co-chairs of the event.
Dr. Karlene Chin Quee, founder of Heartbeats of the World, introduced the Honorable Basil Bryan, former Ambassador and Consul General of Jamaica, who spoke of the great importance of fifty years of independence to the lives of Jamaicans throughout the world.
Bobby DeSouza, WGBB, and Conroy Allison, Winners Circle Radio, were very gracious masters of ceremonies. DeSouza introduced the Honorable Herman Lamont, Consul General of Jamaica and Honorary Chairperson of Heartbeats of the World; and the Reverend Calvin C. McIntyre, Honorary Advisor of Heartbeats of the World.
The mission of Heartbeats of the World is to enrich the lives of women, adolescents and children in underserved areas of the world by providing medical resources and educational opportunities to address poverty, unemployment, and the treatment of HIV/AIDS, sexually-transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy. Bridging the Gap/Seeds of Hope, the educational arm of Heartbeats in Jamaica, has graduated over 600 students. More than 90% of its vocational graduates have obtained the NVQJ certificate which is a prerequisite for employment in Jamaica. The audience witnessed a video of the work of Heartbeats of the World in Jamaica which was produced by Mike Longman and Angelo Maxwell.
The evening featured the Caribbean-flavored music of Monty Alexander, who graciously appeared as a volunteer to support the efforts of Heartbeats of the World. Audience members rose to their feet as Alexander, Fraser and Riley took turns demonstrating their incomparable musical skills.
Vincent HoSang, O.D. presented the Heartbeats Honorary Chairperson award to Basil Bryan; Pat Chin presented the President’s Outstanding Achievement Award to Monty Alexander; Dr. Chin Quee presented the Heartbeats of the World Leadership Award to Pat Chin; Thelma Johnson presented the President’s Outstanding Achievement Award to Stephney Kirkpatrick, Executive Director of Bridging the Gap/Seeds of Hope; Diane Ashton, M.D. presented the Honorary Chairperson Award to the Honorable Lennox Price, Consul General of Jamaica and Honorary Chairperson of Heartbeats of the World; and Bob Longman presented the Honorary Chairperson Award to the Honorable Harry Fouche, former Consul General of Haiti and Honorary Chairperson of Heartbeats of the World.
Dr ChinQuee presented to Phillip Lewis, a student of Jamaica heritage, who has an outstanding scholastic record at Lehman College City University of New York, where he is majoring in Business Administration, the Karlene ChinQuee MD Future Leaders Scholarship Award; and presented a check to Reverend McIntyre for his support of the Carpenters’ Kids Program, a partnership between the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the Diocese in Tanzania, East Africa, which provides each Carpenter’s
Kid a uniform, a pair of shoes, and adequate school supplies for primary school, as well as breakfast on school days.
A VIP reception, organized by Thelma Johnson and Kecia Chin, at which Monty cut his birthday cake, followed the concert. Members of the audience received a commemorative journal which was produced by Paul Hew. The benefit was sponsored by VP Records, The Door Restaurant, Caribbean Food Delights, Carib News, The Gleaner Company, TransContinental Express Shippers, and Dr. Tamer Seckin and The Endometriosis Foundation.