Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
Two distinguished Jamaicans, Barbara Gloudon and Professor Sylvia Wynter, were conferred as fellows of the Institute of Jamaica by His Excellency The Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, governor general of Jamaica, on Monday.
A fair-size turnout was on hand at the Little Theatre in Kingston to witness the conferment.
While there was no intermission, the programme could be easily divided into two parts, with part two being the entertainment and part one the formal ceremony.
Formality began with the singing of the national anthem, followed by a short greeting from Lisa Hanna, minister of youth and culture.
In reading Gloudon's citation, Ainsley Henriques, deputy chairman of council at Institute of Jamaica, painted an impressive picture of her journey from a rookie reporter at The Gleaner to her present position as chairman of The Little Theatre Movement.
Professor Rupert Lewis, also a deputy chairman of council, read Professor Wynter's citation.
With an image of Wynter projected on the screen, he began by informing the gathering of her background that included, like Gloudon, novelist, dramatist, critic and writer of essays.
Wynter was educated at St Andrew High School for Girls and was the recipient of the Jamaica Centenary Scholarship for Girls.
Shortly after, conferment was conducted by Sir Patrick. In the absence of an ailing Wynter, her son Christopher Carew received the instrument and replied on her behalf.
In doing so, he read a personal statement written by his mother. She expressed profound gratitude for receiving the award and spoke about how the Institute of Jamaica had affected the various stages of her life.
But Gloudon was the precursor for the entertainment to come. From the offset, she was wit personified.
In language laced with humour, she told her story, the story of a young girl from St Elizabeth who found and fell in love with the Institute of Jamaica Junior Centre. The love affair has lasted.
The formalities at an end, it was time for 'Legacies in the Performing Arts'. The University of the West Indies Chorale commenced the entertainment package with their rendition of Oneil James' What a Who. Alwyn Scott picked up the tempo with a powerful reading from an excerpt of Wynter's novel The Hills of Hebron.
St Andrew High School for Girls also entertained with Total Praise and Patriotic Medley.
What would a Gloudon affair be without the input of The Pantomime Company?
The group was the bulwark of the entertainment performing three songs: The Ancestors Dem, Anancy Come From Africa and Goat Head Soup. The company's final act was an excerpt from Bogle Oh.
Also performing on the programme was Joan Andrea Hutchinson, who gave a fine reading of Louise Bennett's Jamaican Woman.