Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir Performs in Jamaica

Dr. Eric Conway, Director of the Morgan State University Choir,, writes:

Hello everyone,

This is our first communication from Jamaica.  Many of you already know that our plane had to depart from Ronald Reagan Airport in DC at 6:05 AM on Thursday, June 28, which meant that we needed to leave from Murphy at Morgan absolutely no later than 3AM, which was actually too late a departure time.  Of course my biggest concern was leaving someone behind that early in the morning.  Well, my worst fear was realized, and one choir member did not make the flight with us to Jamaica.  Thank you God for stand-by flights.  The one student did manage to get to Jamaica by himself through Miami airport. We were made whole again.

We are staying at a very fine hotel, paid for by the United States Embassy in Jamaica.  Fortunately, the schedule was not too rigorous the first day and everyone is well rested. 

Our first concert was at the Institute of Jamaica, almost as old as Morgan, founded in 1879.  Before we began, we experienced some of the almost third-world conditions that exist here in Jamaica, in when we arrived at the school, the electricity just went down.  Just about everyone in Jamaica has a generator, except for this school.  We planned to use our electric keyboard, but fortunately, there was a relatively in-tune piano on the premises.  Just before the concert began, the electricity cut back on and we were ready to go!  We had a very good concert and Ambassador Bridgewater, herself was in attendance.  She wanted to hear our full concert despite the fact that we are invited to sing for her at her residence during her 4th of July bash, where only the most important VIP's on the island will attend, given on this Monday, July 2, 2012, hours before we depart on Tuesday, July 3, at 6:40AM. 

After the concert, we were graciously invited to her residence for a meal cooked by her executive chef.  Simply scrumptious.  He prepared for us perhaps Jamaica's most popular food - jerk chicken.  In attendance were several Morgan alums - notably Minister Anthony Hylton, Minister of Industry and Commerce in Jamaica.  He is a very proud Morgan graduate who in addition to meeting with us at the ambassador's residence, provided tickets for us to attend the Jamaican Olympic trials.  Many of you already know the great competition between Jamaica and the United States in the track and field events.  For many of us, this may be the closest we physically get to an Olympic related event.  The trials were very exciting.  As a matter of coincidence, one of the best track and field participants was a cousin to our own choir member, Tristan Morris.  He won his best event - 200 meters event. 

Some how, we happen to always be in good favor.  We were glad that we had the opportunity to attend.  Please see photos attached.  More to come. . . . 

Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chairperson
Morgan State University

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