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It is with great sadness that we announce that Audrey Florence Dean-Wright passed away at her home in Nassau, The Bahamas, on Sunday, September 23, 2018, after a short battle with cancer. She was 68. She was one of the national cultural icons in The Bahamas in the area of music and served as the music director for the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. She also served as the founding director of the Adventist Meistersingers and a professor at the University of The Bahamas. She leaves to mourn her dear husband, Carlton Wright; daughter, Carlisa and spouse, Ashley Waters; son, Carlton, II, and spouse, Fanny; and daughter, Antonia Wilson, and spouse Harvey Carmona, and a host of relatives and friends. Funeral plans will be announced later.
Administration, South Bahamas Conference
Below is a script from an unknown online source written several years ago.
Audrey Dean-Wright was a singer, choral director, pianist, adjudicator, composer, and poet currently living in Nassau, Bahamas, where she was an associate professor at the University of The Bahamas (College of The Bahamas) and served as head of the visual and performing arts there from 2010-2013. She has won numerous national and international awards for her work and contributions in music and poetry.
Audrey was born in Nassau, The Bahamas, known for its singing and well-trained choral groups. When still a child she was influenced by choirs and groups that sang sol-fa, solfeggio, acommon practice in The Bahamas at that time. The result was that the choirs were unusually proficient in sight reading. Audrey sang in choirs from her earliest years and formed her own church choir at age twelve.
She started piano lessons at age ten with Muriel Mallory and at age twelve was able to study with a leading pianist in the islands, concert pianist E. Clement Bethel. He and an “Aunt Hilda Barrett,” a choir director, provided encouragement as she continued her music studies, and she considers them important mentors as she prepared for her career. In 2004 she presented “An Evening of Enchanting Music,” featuring a full concert of her original music at The College of the Bahamas in memory of Bethel.
Audrey graduated from The Bahamas Academy of Seventh-day Adventists in Nassau in 1967. She studied at the Jamaica School of Music in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970-1971 and after teaching for two years traveled to New York City, where she attended the Manhattan School of Music as a scholarship student from 1973 to 1977, when she completed a B.Mus. During that time she directed the Cherub Choir and Women’s Chorale at the Mt. of Olives SDA Church in Brooklyn, New York, from 1974-1977.
Upon her return to The Bahamas in 1977, she began teaching music at The College of the Bahamas and has taught there since, except for a study leave when she returned for graduate work at MSM in 1981, and other leaves later in that decade and the middle years of the next. She completed an M.Mus. in music education in 1983 at MSM, with an emphasis on choral conducting and a performance area of clarinet. She also married Carlton Wright in 1982. Their four children have all been involved in music.
Carlton, now retired, served as an Ambassador in The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As the wife of a diplomat, Audrey had the opportunity to extend her music ministry throughout and beyond the boundaries of The Bahamas during his years of service. This happened when they lived in Miami from 1983-1985, following her graduation from MSM, and when they worked in the Bahamian Embassy in Haiti from 1985-1988. She also founded and directed The English Choir at the Institut Adventiste Franco Haitian, now the Université Adventiste d'
From 2005-2008, when The Bahamas was establishing an embassy in Cuba, she was listed as Education and Cultural Attaché and worked with her husband in the setting up of the ambassador’s office and residence. While residing in Cuba she read some of her poetry for leading Caribbean writer George Lamming at a festival in his honor in 2007, dedicating a poem “The Journey,” that she had written two years earlier to him. She also formed a choral group, Cantabile, to perform for diplomatic and church events.
Dean-Wright has composed over 250 original compositions. They encompass a broad spectrum of music, including Bahamian Folk Songs, Spirituals, standard choral music, and works for piano and flute. Her music has been performed frequently in the Bahamas and in the United States, and her music and poetry have led to performances in Prague and London as well as in Poland, Ghana, Surinam, Haiti, and Jamaica.
She has directed as many as five different choirs at the same time and is the founding director of The Bahamas Seventh-day Adventist Meistersingers, Minister of Music at the Centreville Seventh-day Adventist Church and director of its youth choir, and Director of Music for the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The SDA Meistersingers performed at the General Conference Sessions of the church in 2005 at St. Louis, Missouri, and in 2010 at Atlanta, Georgia. She is now listed as Director Emeritus of that group.
Dean-Wright is Co-founder and Co-director of and pianist for The Bahamas National Children’s Choir, a group that has traveled internationally, performing in eight countries, including the U.S., since 2001, when it traveled to Russia. In 2004 it returned to Russia to participate in the eighth annual Children and Youth International Choir Festival, where it placed 2nd out of 65 choirs. In 2012 they were bronze medal winners in the 11th China International Chorus Festival and International Federation for Choral Music.
She has served as director of the Nassau Renaissance Singers since 2009, after serving as its accompanist from the age of sixteen. In those years as an accompanist she would also conduct works she had written for the group, a custom that has continued since becoming its permanent director. They produced a CD, Music for Christmas, in 2012.
In 1998 she founded the College of The Bahamas Concert Choir. Under her leadership, it has enjoyed remarkable success, performing extensively at the college and in the community, at international festivals and conferences, and for the President of Botswana and President Nelson Mandela of South Africa.
Dean-Wright has aggressively sought to give COB and its Concert Choir more national and international visibility, while continuing to enrich the musical experience of its singers and the local community. In 2000 her school became the first and only non-American member of The Southeastern African-American Collegiate Music Festival (SEAAC), an event that brings together historically black university choirs to sing and celebrate the works of leading composers. She and her music have been featured at festivals held in 2003, 2005, and 2013. In 2005 the SEAAC conferred on her the title of “Composer Extraordinaire.”
In 2003 COB hosted the first SEAAC festival to be held outside the U.S. and in April 2013 hosted the event again when their choir joined with those from Alabama State University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, and Winston-Salem State University. In spite of the college’s small size, the music department’s choir has held its own at these events, which have fostered greater cultural understanding and a healthy perspective about their work and standing when measured against other choirs. In this year’s festival, its 20thanniversary, SEAAC gave her a lifetime Achievement Award.
At an SEAAC festival held at Fiske University, she was taken by surprise when she entered the cafeteria and five university choirs spontaneously burst into a rendition of her composition, “Lord Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace.” It was a delightful and inspiring experience for her.
She developed a choral program at COB that is the pride of the country and the region. Its reputation for outstanding work led to an appearance in the historic Episcopal Church of the Intercession in New York City in March 2013, where they performed “A Concert for Spring: From Concert Classics to Calypso.” The choir was also featured on local NYC television. It has accepted an invitation to perform at Lincoln Center in New York in May 2014.
The growth and accomplishments of the choir under her direction reflect her belief that The Bahamas has a depth of talent in all the arts which, when nurtured and developed, is equal to that of any other country in the world. She has frequently presented workshops at and served as an adjudicator and judge for numerous events in The Bahamas and elsewhere, adjudicating at The Bahamas National Arts Festival for over 25 years.
Dean-Wright also enjoys a reputation as both an author and a poet. She has written three published music-related books and won awards for her poetry, most of which reflects Bahamian culture and religion. One of her poems, “Mask,” won the Editor’s Choice Award and was published in an international anthology of poetry and included in a multi-CD set, The Sound of Poetry, released in 2007 by the International Society of Poets.
Her poem “Not Just Breasts” received a standing ovation at the Women’s Day Celebration, Panafest, in Ghana in 2005. “The Journey,” a poem that has been recited at several events dealing with slavery, was inspired by her visit to Ghana, where she visited the castles and dungeons where slaves were held before being shipped to the Caribbean and the U.S.
In the February 2013 Bahamas International Symposium on Composers of African and Afro-Caribbean Descent, sponsored by The College of the Bahamas and the Nassau Music Society, she spoke about a work she had written following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. She had earlier lived there for three and a half years and had been touched at that time by the hardships endured by that country’s inhabitants.
She was profoundly troubled over the results of the earthquake and had difficulty processing it, finally finding expression to her feelings through the poetry in a song titled “Port-Au-Prince Tombé” (Port-au-Prince Has Fallen.) One of her music students at the college, Lavanda Brown, performed the song at the symposium, which was attended by some of the best musicians in The Bahamas, the region, and the world.
Dean-Wright has been a major influence in Bahamian life and culture for over forty years, playing a major role in the renaissance in the arts that has occurred in that country during that time. The country’s music and dance groups have won honors in international competitions against the best performers in the world.
In 2006 she was chosen Woman of the Year by the American Biographical Institute and has also been listed twice in the International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women. In 2008 she was chosen as one of the 25 Most Outstanding Women in The Bahamas in recognition of her contributions to the arts in that country and was also given a “Living Legend Award” that same year.
Yes! This is exciting news. UPSURGE, the weekly television Talk Show by the Youth Ministries Department of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is back on television. Watch UPSURGE on Monday, at 7:00 p.m. and repeat on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. on Cable Bahamas 658 HopeTV
UPSURGE is produced by Adventist Media of the South Bahamas Conference.
These are the exciting events that will take place during the months of September, October, November and December.
More coming . . .
South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Quadrennial Session, November 4 to 5, 2018
These persons will serve in office for the next four years
2018 to 2022
|Pastor That One||Pastor This One||That One|
|Children and Adolescence||Communication||Community Services|
|Education||Family Ministries||Health Ministries|
|Men's Ministries||Personal Ministries||Public Affairs & Religious Liberty|
|Public Campus Ministries||Publishing||Sabbath School|
|Women's Ministries||Youth Ministries|
Article by Lynden Williams, Sabbath School Director for the Adventist Church in the South Bahamas
Within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Sabbath School has been a place of learning and nuture for both member and visitor. It has long been considered a training ground where the youth and new converts can develop their ministry of service to the wider body and the community.
Recently, there has been a decline in attendance at Sabbath Schools and a general lack of enthusiasm. Here are some tips to jumpstart your Sabbath School:
Special emphasis must be placed on the facilities and materials used for the children. The rooms should have adequate ventilation, colours appropriate for the age group along with visual aids.
Two factors should not be overlooked in membership retention are involvement and fellowship.
The Sabbath School can be used as a training ground for new members to become comfortable with speaking in the church and their involvement helps with the bonding process. Thus, they take ownership of their new place of worship.
Sabbath School classes are encouraged to have regular fellowship meals with a goal of once per month. Everyone can be involved in the planning process and where possible this can take place outside of the church grounds, and members will find this as an ice breaker for their visitors who are not of our faith.
Finally, utilize the five senses in the worship and learning process, as this builds a more vibrant and healthy experience for worshippers in the Sabbath School.
Pastor Lynden Williams, Sabbath School Director
2016 South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.