Thursday, June 16, 2011

Legendary masman laid to rest

The casket bearing the body of Wayne Berkeley is carried out by his brothers
Claetus, left, and Oswald, right, and other relatives and close friends
following the funeral service at the Church of Assumption,
Maraval, yesterday. Photo: BRIAN NG FATT
Legendary masman Wayne Berkeley was able to create heaven on earth for those who played in his Carnival bands over the years. Berkeley, who passed away last week Thursday at age 70, was laid to rest yesterday in a colourful send off at the Church of the Assumption, Maraval. In attendance were Berkeley’s brothers Claetus, Eldon and Oswald and their families. Members of Carnival and entertainment fraternity who came to pay their respects included, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters, Denyse Plummer, Stephen Derrick, Trevor Wallace, Richard Affong, Arden Knox, Keith Ramirez, David Lopez, Thora Dumbell, Rosemary Stone and chairman of the National Carnival Commission Kenny de Silva. In his homily, Father Joe Harris said Berkeley was able to create a heaven on earth with his Carnival creations.

Harris said, “Wayne used God’s gifts and talents to remind us of that other world.” He said through Berkeleys creativity and passion for colour he created a culture of joy, togetherness, beauty, sharing and happiness. Friend and dancer, Thora Dumbell paid tribute to Berkeley, describing him as a “genius” who came up “with the most unique ideas.”

Dumbell said: “Wayne, I salute you for the joy and beauty you bought us.” The eulogy was delivered by Berkeley’s brother, Oswald, who said Wayne’s name would forever be synonymous with Carnival. He described Berkeley as a perfectionist, who was meticulous and methodical in creating his costumes. To celebrate the life of Wayne Berkeley and the contribution he made to Carnival the National Library, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, is holding a special exhibition displaying some of Berkeley’s costumes, art works and sketches. The exhibition, which started on Tuesday, will end on July 15.
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Wayne Berkeley passed away last week Thursday at his Clifford Street, Belmont, home at age 70. He made his Carnival debut in 1965. He won 13 Band of Year titles with six consecutive wins. In 1974 he was awarded the Humming Bird Gold Medal for his contribution to the development of Carnival.

In 1985 Berkeley designed the altar for Pope John Paul II at the National Stadium. That same year he designed the interior of the Angostura building for the visit of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. He also designed prize-winning bands for Carnival in St Vincent, St Maarten, Antigua, Barbados, London and the United States.

Alicia Llanos
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