A Caymanian musician who has been using his gift to glorify the Lord for the past 56 years will be recognised tonight for his valuable contribution to the church.
Ferdinand Seymour’s 81-year-old fingers literally roll up and down the organ keyboard as he plays song after song, never missing a beat. He never uses a music sheet because he plays it all by ear.
Mr. Seymour has received many awards from various organisations such as outstanding service to the Cayman Male Voice Choir, which he founded in 1974 with 24 members. He was also awarded honorary membership in the Garden Club, presented a certificate of appreciation from the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and recognised for the establishment of the Moravian Church and acknowledged for valuable contribution to St. Georges Anglican Church and Elmslie United Church.
While most people have to study hard to master what has come so easy to Mr. Seymour, the self-taught musician credits his success to tender loving care from his wife, no cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, a gift from God and guidance from his aunt, Irene Stewart.
Instead of going out to play most of the times like other kids, Mr. Seymour would join his aunt on the organ for hours at her home in Cumber Avenue in Bodden Town.
With a family rooted in gospel music, his mother and family were great influences in his development of musical talent.
Growing up in church with his family played a very important part in his musical endeavours.
‘Whenever I got holidays from school I would join my aunt and learn to read the notes all by myself,’ he said.
He never had the chance to attend high school because there was none in those days.
After coming home from school he would feed the cows and pigs, get something to eat and get in the corner with the oil lamp to do school work.
If visitors came to visit his aunt and grandmother he would go across the road with his friends and play hide and seek.
‘Every Sunday we would get all dressed up to attend the Elmslie United Church.’ While there he would assist Ms Una in playing the organ.
Later on in the years Mr. Ferdinand said his father bought him his first organ. But before that, he would just sit and play any organ he came across.
In 1951 Mr. Seymour married Emily.
About four to five years later he shipped out to sea on National Bulk Carrier because there was no work to be found in Cayman.
‘Jobs were few and far apart in those times’ he said.
From his trips overseas he built his home and saved enough to buy his first accordion for $100 in Italy.
For 17 years he worked overseas sending his few dollars to his wife and visiting every couple of months.
When he returned he continued to attend Elmslie church where his contribution to the life of the church was through his music.
Eventually Mr. Ferdinand would take over the organ from Ms Una.
Today he plays for both the Anglican and the Elmslie Church.
Mr. Ferdinand also contributed to the Cayman society working at the George Town Post Office, various supermarkets and in the construction field. In his spare time Mr. Ferdinand said he loves to take cruises along with his wife.
Today, Mr. Ferdinand has still not retired; most people can see him lending his service at Hurley’s Grand Harbour four days a week when he is not playing at weekly church services.
‘Music and the church is my life and I will never retire from that,’ he said.
When asked about sharing his gift with others, Mr. Ferdinand said he is willing but there are so many other attractions available to the younger generation that most are not interested.
Tonight Elmslie United Church presents its Cayman Male Voice Choir in concert at 7.30pm in honour of Mr. Seymour who is the founder, director and organist. All are invited. Call 949-7953 for more information.