Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On A Boat

As I mentioned in the last post, we spent a couple hours last night on a cruise ship owned by the Church of Scientology.  Yep - it looks like a ship.

All aboard!

We got our VIP passes and headed toward the lounge...

Hmm, pretty cool inside. And by the time the show started (only 10 minutes after 8!), the lounge was full. There were a surprising amount of children there, but all were very well behaved throughout the show.

 Now I have to admit, Michael & I were being pretty snarky and wondered if we'd get off later and be in a parallel universe or something, but the crew of the FreeWinds has done a lot for various St. Kitts/Nevis causes over two decades. Like...
  • Many concerts to raise money for various local charities. Last night, everyone's donations benefited Save our Sons (SOS). This organization has been around for about 6 years and has helped turn a few lives around (a couple of success stories in the audience). 
  • Providing tours to young kids like those in the St. Kitts Boys Brigade (Facebook).
  • Providing a place for people to be entertained and stay out of trouble.
I doubt the ship brings much in by way of its passengers getting off and spending money (they're supposed to be studying), but they are helpful in other ways at least.

I thought Magic (aka Andre Phipps, who we met at the Gramps Morgan album release party) looked familiar. I'd seen him on ZIZ talking about Operation Future (dear to his heart, since his father was murdered on the island). He's  also a radio personality and manager of the newly discovered talent we heard last night, Shanda Webster. A man of many talents.

Speaking of talent, Shanda (partly raised in St. Kitts/partly in St. Martin) got up on stage and sang her little heart out. Apparently she had performed on Saturday too and many people had returned to hear her again. Her repertoire ranged from gospel, to reggae, to slow jams, to pop. A song her dad wrote, We Can Make It, has already hit the charts in some countries. It's a little too cheesy for my taste, but good for weddings, which she offered to come and sing at if you've got one coming.

We got some U2 (With or Without You), John Lennon (Imagine), Aretha Franklin (Natural Woman), Adele (Rolling in the Deep), Alicia Keys (No one), and, of course, Bob Marley (a couple), among others.  She seemed more comfortable with some than others, but they were all very good. The crowd was fun too, singing along and applauding loudly. My favorite though, was one of her own (of course, a reggae song) - My Life is Not A Game.

At one point, we got a bonus when young Thalia Wigley (or Wrigley) took the stage and belted out Adele's Someone Like You. She really let go - her bravery and amazing effort was almost overpowering enough to make me cry. I don't doubt she's on the path to success someday.

Shanda came back and did a few more songs and then shocked everyone with a very hard-rock rendition of Stevie Wonder's Superstition. It really showcased how good the musicians, The Freewinds Band, were in their own right (they've backed up many entertainers).

As a matter of fact, they'll be lending their talents to Operation Future's 2nd Annual Peace Concert in Independence Square Saturday, June 2nd from 2pm to 8pm. 

A few details of that event: A memorial will be constructed consisting of a wooden cross 3 feet in height and 2 feet in span for every life lost to violence since January 1, 2007, the crosses will be marked with name and age and it is hoped to include a picture of as many as possible. In addition crosses will be erected for each person missing without explanation since the same period. We are encouraging family and friends of those victims of violence to bring flowers and memorials to be placed at the cross.

This concert is FREE, the entertainers are donating their time. The goal is to bring at least 5,000 people together and call for a moratorium on the violence. You can get more details (whether you want to perform or attend) on their Facebook page (or here if you're not on Facebook).

The concert on the ship was a lot of fun, and we were relieved it ended at a reasonable 10pm (we were still tired from the night before). I'm not sure how much free reign we had over the ship, although I did notice that the ship's store was open selling books about Scientology. We didn't really meander this time, but will sometime. The ship took off for Antigua today, but will be back this Friday until June 21st. I can't find anything that gives the schedule of shows, so don't know how the heck people know, but the port captain did mention the next one Saturday to benefit the Matheson Trust (so they'll be performing twice that day - one at the Square and one on the ship).

I had every intention of being asleep by 7 tonight, but So You Think You Can Dance is on.  We missed it last week, thanks to getting sucked into listening to the new band at Mr. X's. SYTYCD is better than Dancing With The Stars (although fun enough) - the talent is amazing and they dance to original music tracks - but I just don't know if I can do it....