Brac Autumn Festival offers cultural cornucopia

Brac musicians Vernon Smith and Raymond Scott carried the night through, joined by local folk singers, singing songs of ole time days written by Allimae Ebanks.

The second Brac Autumn Festival brought a variety of arts and cultural events celebrating Cayman’s creative community.

The festival took place over the Oct. 14 weekend, kicking off on Friday with a Cultural Arts Fair at the home of Dan and Lisa Scott in the Creek, formerly known as the historic Spellman McLaughlin house. Saturday night featured an open mic and canvas night at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort, and the weekend culminated with a special old-time church service.

“We received funding from Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell’s ministry to bring over the visiting artists, poets and musicians, and the events were made possible with an art grant from Cayman National Cultural Foundation,” said festival co-founder and organizer Simone Scott, who was on the organizing committee that launched the festival in 2015 with Michel Powery and Tisa Dixon, with assistance from other volunteers.

“I want to thank Dan and Lisa for the generous use of their traditional Caymanian home, along with decor and assistants for Friday night’s events, and thank Cayman Brac Beach Resort for the use of the conference room on Saturday night,” she said, giving special mention to all the Brackers who helped put on the event.

“We could not have pulled it off without the volunteers and the talent of all artists, poets, musicians involved,” she said.

As part of the entertainment, a scene from the play “An Old Time Turtling Voyage” by Allimae Ebanks was performed by Lyndon Martin, Marquita Douglas and Laurel Martin.

“Big thanks also to Ms. Laurel for organizing the folk songs and skit play. All were well received by the audience,” said Ms. Scott.

“In addition, two artists gave us pieces to be auctioned off at Christmas. One called ‘The Bluff’ from Yonier Powery is to raise money for a Brac Meet to Paint art group that is starting back up soon. The other painting, called ‘Watering Place Sunset,’ donated by artist Zenia Woods, is to raise funds for a family in need on the Brac.”

Food was provided by Night Owl and Starrie’s Desserts.

Saturday’s open mic and Canvas night at Cayman Brac Beach Resort featured performances of poems and music by visiting and local artists, award-winning author Kathleen Bodden-Harris, and an art exhibit. Performances were given by visiting poets Michel Powery, Kevin Creary, Joseph Betty, Alta Solomon, Alyson Medeiros and Sophie McKenzie, and works by visiting artists Kerwin Ebanks, Gordon Solomon, Joseph Betty and Yonier Powery were on display. Local Brac artists Simone Scott, Theingi Tin Oung and Zenia Woods also had their work on display.

Rounding out the weekend, the Cotton Tree Bay Church of God Chapel-by-the-Sea was the setting for the third annual Old-Fashioned Evangelistic Service held on Sunday evening.

This year’s event was organized by the Cayman Brac Heritage Committee, headed by Liz Walton-Thompson, Marcia Rankin, Debbie Rankin and Nola Bodden, together with the Cayman Brac Ministers’ Association. Organizers partnered this year, for the first time, with the Brac Autumn Festival Committee.

“The quaint little sanctuary was packed to overflowing with congregants from the participating churches – Church of God, Hillside Chapel, Crossroads Baptist and Ebenezer Baptist Church, as well as from other churches, all praising and worshipping in the good ole-fashioned way,” said Ms. Scott.

According to a press release, the service was conducted as a re-enactment of a typical Cayman Brac Sunday night and what it would have looked like in the early 1930s. Many who attended donned fashions of that era, and there was no electricity at the service, only oil lamps for lighting, and the musical instruments were acoustic guitar, piano, accordion and tambourine. Seagrape leaves were provided as hand fans, and conch shells, freshly picked flowers and other memorabilia made up the décor.

A time of reflection and a walk down memory lane was presented by Yvette Dilbert, and the sermon charge was brought by Pastor Tom French. A collection was made to help victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and Cuba.

At the end of the service, a time of fellowship took place with everyone treated to homemade swanky by Starrie Scott, cassava stretcher baked in the caboose by Ann Walton and “good ole” corn-beef sandwiches made by Rosie Moxam.

“It indeed was a pleasure to host the service [at the chapel] and I agree … it was a great time of fellowship and worship,” said Pastor Thomas French.

“It is good when the people of God flow together under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Thanks to everyone that helped make this event happen … especially the committee that worked so hard to organize and decorate. I pray we can continue to work together in unity to expand the Kingdom Of God here in our community.”

Audley Scott and Pastor Joel Scott agreed that the service was a blessing to all.

“As always, it was a pleasure for me to be in service for our Lord. Also, special thanks to the committee for doing such a good job,” said Pastor Scott.


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