Tuesday, October 9, 2012

German Day Celebrations and Concert at Seaford Town

In this post, I depart from my usual topics on literacy to highlight an all-too-infrequent event in Western Jamaica - a classical music concert, this one in Seaford Town.
Seaford Town, also known as “German Town” was founded in 1835 by settlers from Westphalia in Germany. It is widely regarded as having the strongest German cultural retentions of all the places where Germans settled in Jamaica. It is a Jamaican national heritage site, in the hills of Westmoreland, about an hour’s drive south of Montego Bay.

On Sunday, September 30, 2012 two events took place in Seaford Town, courtesy of the German Embassy. One was the handing over of the sanitary facilities which were built to be made available to visitors to the Seaford Town Museum on German immigration.

Ambassador Josef Beck
The second was a special outreach concert, at Seaford Town Primary School, to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Germany and Jamaica. Ambassador Josef Beck opened the proceedings. He invited the Hon. Luther Buchanan, MP for Eastern Westmoreland and Minister of State in the Office of the PM; the Hon. Damion Crawford, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism, and Councillor Paul Wilson, Deputy Mayor of Sav-la-Mar to bring greetings.

The appreciative audience was then treated to a classical concert which included the following items:

Nastassja Nass, soprano, singing ‘Lord I Obey”, the 1st Aria from ‘Jonah’ written by Samuel Felsted (1743-1802) organist at Kingson Parish Church in the 18th century. Natassja is a professional opera singer.

Instrumental pieces, by a number of composers, including Mozart and Saint Saens, for the following instruments: recorder, played by Rosina Moder of Music Unites; violin; viola, played by Kwame Kohl, a Jamaican who lives in Berlin. (His mother was one of the first members of Black Uhuru.); cello; French Horn; and trumpet.
Violinist, Cellist and Violist (Kwame Kohl)

Piece  for French Horn and Trumpet

Nastassja Nass
The final item, sung by Nastassja, was taken from the Reggae Opera, music by Peter Ashbourne, lyrics by Mervin Morris. The opera is 'Mikey'. Of it, Rosina Moder said, "It is a Jamaican story, loosely based - it takes poetic licence - on Mikey Smith." Smith, a poet, was murdered on August 17, 1983, in Stony Hill, St Andrew. One of his more popular poems and recordings is Mi Cyaan Believe It. There were excerpts from the opera in Kingston last week.

Larkland Williams assisted by Dr. Althea Neblett

After the musicians had taken their final bow, there was an impromptu item by Larkland Williams, a JUTA Tours operator, who performed the country and western ‘You picked a fine tome to leave me Lucille’ in German, much to the delight of Ambassador Beck and other German nationals.

As a token of appreciation, Jeremy Ashbourne, son of Peter Ashbourne, presented Ambassador Beck with a gift basket filled with local produce. Rita Hilton, Treasurer of the Seaford Town NGO, explained to the Ambassador what everything was.

After the classical concert, the Seaford Town marching band performed. The young people were well coordinated and entertaining, but unfortunately, because of the rain, they had to play inside the school instead of marching outside. The resulting volume was too loud for some of us, so we slipped out before they had finished.

I apologise for any errors and omissions in this post, which, as there were no programmes, I wrote from my own incomplete notes and internet searches. I had expected to see a report in one of the newspapers, but there were only photographs in the Gleaner’s Western Focus on Saturday, October 6. I would appreciate further input on this cultural event from my readers.


Diane Browne said...

Very iteresting report, Helen. We need more events like these to expose our children to all types of cultural activities.

Helen said...

I agree, Diane.

C. Ward said...

Well done Mrs. Williams worthy of publication too bad the media only finds what is popular more worthy.

Christian Peterdi said...


Do you know if there is a DVD with history information about Seaford Town?



Helen said...

Hi Chris,
I don't know if there's a DVD with history info about Seaford Town. I will look into it and get back to you.

Christian Peterdi said...

Hi Helen, thanks for your help.
I saw a link to your site on


I fyou need help with the translation you can hit me up :)