Thu | Jul 27, 2017

Bunny Rose seeks to hit the crest

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2017 | 3:00 AMPaul H. Williams
Bunny Rose says time stops when he closes his eyes and sings.

In the garden of the performing arts there is a Rose called Bunny, and he is as nimble as that little, four-legged creature, but much more talented. He plays many musical instruments; sings different genre of songs in English, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin and Latin; in addition to being a composer, voice coach, music educator, and a photographer. The brother of twin, Bobby, has come a far way from being orphaned at age seven, and for him the future looks even rosier.

Sometime after their father and mother died when the twins were five and seven respectively, an elder brother brought them from Grant's Pen, St Andrew to St Ann to care for them. But, because of no significant familial support they ended up in Windsor Lodge Children's Home at Royal Flats, Manchester, which Rose said is the best in the world. It had a great family atmosphere. The wards were treated as if they were the children of the staff. Their children's home experience ended when they were taken into foster care.

The youngest of seven children for his mother attended McIntosh Memorial Primary School in Royal Flat, and deCarteret College in Mandeville, Manchester. At deCarteret he was a model student who excelled at his external exams, topping his cohort. In his yearbook, his 'ambition' was to operate a music school. By then, he said, music was almost second nature to him. He has always been singing, but cannot say why. "You breath, I sing," he said, and when he is singing "time stops". "Everything in the world is all right when I am singing," he shared.

With his excellent CSEC performances Rose could have gone into any of the other professions, but he said music chose him, as much as he chose it. He was bitten by the instrumental bug, perhaps when he was in state care. At the home, there was a dilapidated piano, which he said he did not know was a piano. He just loved the sounds that it made when he banged the keys, and he was hooked. In retrospect, he said he believes his brain was wired to learn music, as learning it comes easily, likewise singing and playing the piano at the same time.

Yet, Rose was not complacent with a brain wired to learn musical notes and nuances; he took formal lessons, starting with the piano at age 13. From the piano he moved on to other instruments, such as the saxophone, violin, organ and guitar. From Trinity College in the UK he has received a Grade A in 'voice', and has won gold and bronze medals, and a trophy in the annual Jamaica Cultural Development Commission competitions, and has been singing professionally since about age 22, mainly through private engagements, locally and abroad, and on the hotel circuit, to rave reviews. Wherever he is requested he goes.

Rose sings mainly timeless classics from the stage and screen. The young man is catering to a more mature audience. This has made him more conscious of the need to do his best every time he performs. "The value of my work must speak for itself," he said. If he is great then the word will spread, and the requests will come pouring in. His name he wants to be synonymous with the arts, especially music and photography.

And true to his high-school-yearbook ambition Rose has taught music at several institutions, and once operated a music academy, which he has put on hold for a while. Because, he said, he is now at a "selfish stage" in his life, as he needs to grow. Growth means more performances.

Rose said he has been giving all these years, but he now has to focus on himself, if he is to grow. He argued that, he, who has been given much assistance by the important people in his life, now has to build on himself in order to get to that stage where he can help others again, perhaps when they can sniff some more at his fragranced musical petals and quench their thirst on the dew thereon. For Bunny is not just an ordinary Rose in the garden of the arts.