Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Artistes Show 'Bird' Astonishing Love

Published:Tuesday | October 25, 2016 | 10:00 AMMarcia Rowe
Junior 'Bird' Baillie playing at his benefit concert, recently
Boris Gardiner, one of the many entertainers who took the stage in a show of support for 'Bird'.
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The inclement weather was no deterrent for a number of friends of drummer Junior 'Bird' Baillie, who turned out for a fantastic fundraising concert.

While their presence was a show of compassion and love, they were also mindful of the number of acts waiting in line to show their love for Bird musically or vocally. And so, each delivered one item instead of the customary lengthy set - the audience at the Keesing Avenue venue enjoying every moment of the tightly run informal programme.

After the band - Birds of a Feather led by Desi Jones - got the musical fiesta started, vocalist Gem Myers came to the stage. She thanked all for making the show possible for a brother and then aptly gave a fine delivery of I'll Be There.

And one after the other, entertainers took the stage, sharing brief anecdotes with Bird and offering blessings of long life.

Errol Lee, who followed bass player Rupert Bent jr, said he takes full responsibility for discovering Bird. He claimed that Bird arrived at his first rehearsal with Bare Essentials as a bass player and left as a drummer.

Dimario McDowell, who chose to sing What a Wonderful World, said Bird is a friend for life.

Charmaine Lemonious may have been singing to the converted when she sang Put a Little Love in Your Heart. She was subsequently followed by Seretse Small, Duane Stephenson, Dionne Hardy, Wayne Armond, Maria Myrie and Cherine Anderson, who spoke of Bird's generosity and humility.

Ernie Smith and Dwight Richards were also backed by the Birds of a Feather band. They both deviated from the pattern of one song each, much to the delight of the audience, who rocked to the gospel and ska music delivered by Smith.

Intermission ended with Lloyd Parkes and We The People band taking over supporting duties.

Bob Andy opened the next segment. He said it was a joy to be performing for Bird, who was the only one to get him out of his bed at that time. He was followed by Ken Booth and Boris Gardiner. Both were just as entertaining and engaging.

Bird, who is recovering from a cardiac surgery, was more than delighted with the show of love from his musical friends. In saying thanks at the end of the show, he highlighted the extent to which they showed their love and care.

"You don't know what blessings it is to have friends like everyone that you have seen here tonight," he said.

"It's hard, sometimes, when you go through situations and you think sometimes that nobody cares, nobody is listening; and then something tragic like this happens, and from nowhere, you realise that you are so loved."

He thanked God for restoring his life, his band leader Lloyd Parkes of We the People, and the other musicians who visited and stayed with him while he was in the hospital.

Desi Jones was unable to visit at the hospital, but when he heard what the bill was, he said he was going to put on a concert and so gratitude was extended from one drummer to another.

Apart form being the drummer for the Lloyd Parkes and We The People band, Bird does a Saturday evening gig at Jo Jo's. Not only did the managers give their support, but during his hospitalisation, his co-workers Chris Swell and Rupert Bent played every Saturday for three months at Jo Jo's and gave him their pay. And whenever We The People played, Parkes ensured that Bird was still paid.

"These are the friends. And I have considered myself much loved," Bird concluded, before (on request and complying with his doctor's instruction) giving a captivating performance on his instrument of choice, the drums.