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Tribute to Audrey Dean-Wright from the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture
Sep 25, 2018 - 12:56:58 PM

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Tribute to Mrs. Audrey Dean-Wright, Cultural Giant and Trail Blazer by The Hon. Lanisha Rolle Minister Of Youth, Sports & Culture:

I wish on behalf of my Ministry to acknowledge with deep regret the passing of Mrs. Audrey Dean-Wright, Bahamian musician, composer, professor, poet and well-known Co-Director of The Bahamas National Children’s Choir who left this world on Sunday September 23rd, 2018.

Born in Nassau in 1949, Mrs. Dean-Wright resided in the cultural community of Bain Town. Her first music lesson was at age 10 with Mrs. Muriel Mallory and by the time she was 12 years old she was the Children’s Choir director of Transfiguration Baptist Church. Thanks to music educators, Meta Davis-Cumberbatch, and Audrey’s mentor the late E. Clement Bethel, she began building her music career on a very firm foundation.   She continued her studies at the Jamaica School of Music, and later at the Manhattan School of Music, New York, where she obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.

Pianist, composer, singer, choral conductor and poet, Audrey Dean-Wright has been an integral part of the music and cultural tapestry of our beloved country for over 47 years. Her ‘footprints’ in music education and by extension the music industry in The Bahamas are clear and bold for all to see.  Mrs. Dean-Wright began teaching at the, then, College of the Bahamas in 1977 and remained until May of this year for the sake of her beloved music education students. There is no doubt that her rich legacy will live on through them.

For many years she served as music adjudicator for the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival where her expertise in choral techniques was most applauded. She was sought after as a choral workshop facilitator both locally and internationally, and her most prized accomplishment some may argue was co-founding and co-directing the world-acclaimed Bahamas National Children’s Choir. At one point in her decorated career, Mrs. Dean-Wright directed five choirs simultaneously.

The Ministry extends condolences to her former choirs namely: the Seventh Day Adventist Meistersingers, the University of The Bahamas Concert Choir, the Nassau Renaissance Singers, the Centerville SDA Youth Choir, and the Music Department of the Southern Bahamas Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. 

A world-class Master Musician, she has led her choir’s performances in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, Poland, Russia and Prague, and made us all proud with performances at the world-famous Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, New York. Composer of over 250 compositions for solo voice, choir, flute and piano this musical gem has also authored books namely Children Sing for Joy, a collection of 31 songs for children with accompanying CD, Audrey’s Favourite Bahamian Songs and More and The Youth Pianist, a collection of piano pieces.

The first non-American to be a featured composer with the Southeast African American Collegiate Music Festival, she has been recognised with numerous medals and awards for outstanding music achievement.  In 2005 she was bestowed the title ‘Composer Extraordinaire’ at South Carolina State University,  and  in 2014 received the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Southeast African American Collegiate Music Festival. For her life’s work in 2015 she was awarded “WOMAN OF DISTINCTION” by the Celebrating Women International Organization.

It is difficult to salute this great Cultural Icon without remembering her dear sister, the late Mrs. Patricia Bazard, who co-laboured with her for so many years with The Bahamas National Children’s Choir.

We remember in prayer Mrs. Dean-Wright’s husband His Excellency, Carlton Wright, her children, siblings, and the countless children and young adults of The Bahamas she touched through the gift of music.

May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

September 25, 2018

Nassau, The Bahamas

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