Full house for Nina

The Nina Orrett-Ebanks benefit concert, Lean On Me, took place last Saturday night and showed community spirit at its very best as more than 1,500 people gathered for the heart-warming event.

The concert was a fundraiser for local singer Nina, who in February, after years of suffering, underwent surgery in Miami where a tumour the size of a golf ball was removed from her brain. The concert was a celebration of music and friendship as the local community came together to help raise a substantial portion of the $32,000 medical bills outstanding for Nina’s care.

Organised by Derri Lee, chairwoman of the organising committee, the concert showcased more than 60 local performers, musicians, models, dancers, comedians, entertainers and even bodybuilders, who all came together for the almost four-hour long concert held at the Lions Centre.

‘I do not think such togetherness and love has been shown within the community since Hurricane Ivan,’ Ms Lee said of the show, which raised in the region of $15,000. Hurricane Ivan devastated Cayman in September 2004.

Some performances had audience members tapping their feet along to the catchy music, others had them singing, laughing or cheering along. There was something for everyone with the music running the gamut from gospel, rap, jazz, soca and country.

Performers included the Barefoot Man, Chuck and Barrie, Intransit, Pandemonium Steelband, Notch, Black Face, C.B.R, Impulse band, George Dobbs, Gerald Rankine, Gloria Wilks, Derri Lee, Barbara Christian and Lonnie McField. Emcees for the night were Edlin Myles and Tonya Mitchell.

Models showed off clothes from Reflections, Thea’s and One345 Collections. There was a skit by Sookie and Zekiel and a dance performance by Dance Unlimited.

Even some government members showed their support. Kurt Tibbetts, Leader of Government Business, wowed the crowd with the Carpenters He is my Brother, while McKeeva Bush, Leader of the Opposition, sung Jim Reeves’s Sweet Lips a Little Closer to the Phone.

Nina’s family also came forward to show their support.

Daphne Orrett, Nina’s mother, performed a heart-moving Amazing Grace.

Her uncle, Rupert Ackerman, performed one of his favourite country pieces, Lucile. Although he forgot the words half way through the crowd was more than forgiving, cheering and singing along.

Nina’s son Rico Orrett-Ebanks, also performed, stealing the show with a spectacular rendition of Gloria Esteban’s Reach, which received a standing ovation.

Nina herself performed a couple of pieces, including Angel and I Bowed on my Knees and Cried Holy. She also sung Mariah Carey’s Hero with Derri Lee, a performance which resulted in huge applause.

During the concert spirits were high. The mood of the crowd throughout the concert was more than joyous as they cheered, laughed and encouraged the performers along, each heart-warmingly received.

Throughout the show there were raffle drawings and door prize announcements. There was also more than ample food and refreshments for sale.

The show closed with all performers coming together for a moving rendition of Lean on Me in tribute to Nina.

Ms Lee said: ‘The committee would like to thank all of the sponsors, supporters, musicians, performers and models for making this a successful event.

‘I was pleased to see so many people at the Lions Centre. This is something that the Lean on Me committee would like to continue to do for the community.’