Ashe celebrates silver Jubilee
Last Saturday, high above New Kingston, on the 17th floor of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, The Ashe Company celebrated its silver jubilee. The formal affair was a kaleidoscope of vignettes, performances, greetings and honouring of alumni, partners and supporters. The company also received the key to the City of Kingston from Mayor Delroy Williams.
The programme, which began after the singing of the national anthem by members of Ashe, and a prayer, continued with an energetic rendition of Maya Angelou's Still I Rise from the Ashe ensemble. They would return at intervals to perform various songs.
There were also numerous greetings from organisations the group has been associated with. There were greetings from Rebecca Robinson of USAID; Nicholeen Degrasse-Johnson of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts; Nicola Skyers from the Ministry of Health; Andrew Swaby of Nannyville Gardens; and Ali McNab, who represented the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports.
Senator Damion Crawford, who was the main speaker for the evening, charged the company to go into communities and find at-risk youths. The senator predicted that Ashe "is going to be important in entertainment, [as] Ashe can change perception of the arts and change ideology".
Before conferring the key to the city on the group, Mayor Williams said that the company was a sterling example of what was good about Jamaica. In receiving the key, Paulette Bellamy, co-founder of Ashe, stated that what she and the late Joseph Robinson planted, had been well planted and she was "proud of what the current leaders have achieved".
Though it was their 'birthday', the company was the one giving out gifts. Organisations and individuals that the company has worked closely with over the years were recognised. The Corporate Award was presented to USAID, MoneyMarket Brokers, and Jamaica AIDS Support for Life. The Tower of Strength Award was presented to Winston and Sonia Davidson and Jon Williams. Degrasse-Johnson received a special award, while Sherida Sharpe and Michael-Shawn Harris were the recipients of the Alumni Awards. The Visionary Award was presented to Bellamy.
Vignettes were used to tell the history of Ashe, which paid tribute to Robinson in an evening that ended with the ensemble singing Happy Birthday to its artistic director, Michael Holgate.