Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Barbadian National symbols and emblems
In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride is sprung,
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood.
We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own.
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great,
Strict guardians of our heritage,
Firm craftsmen of our fate.
The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years.
With him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.
When Mr. C. Van Roland Edwards composed the Music for the National Anthem he was partly blind. Mr. Edwards was born in 1912 and had been writing music from his school days as a pupil of St. Peter's Church Boy's School. Although he had no formal training he had been a member of the British Song society since 1933. Because of his partial blindness has was assisted in his work by his two daughters Nannette and Eullia.
Mr. Edwards was know for his compositions "The St. Andrew Murder", "The Goodman song" and "The Federation song". He also composed "Welcome to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II" which was sung in the presence of the Queen when she opened the St. Elizabeth School in St. Joseph during the official visit to the island in February, 1966.
A committee which comprised, Mr. Bruce St. John, Mr. Frank Collymore, Mrs. Enid Lynch, Mr. George Lamming, Mr. Gerald Hudson and Mr. John Fletcher was appointed to oversee the selection of the national Anthem. Mr. Edwards was awarded $500 for his efforts.
Mr. Edwards died on April 22, 1985.
In 1967 the music of the National Anthem was re-arranged. This work was undertaken by Inspector Prince Cave of the Royal Barbados Police Band. He had earlier that year returned from a three year Band Masters course at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. The Anthem was given a more sustained harmony while at the same time retaining the original tune.
The Lyrics of the National Anthem of Barbados were written by Mr. Irving Burgie who was born in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. of a Barbadian mother and American father. Mr. Burgie whose stage name is Lord Burgess was born in 1926. He served in India and after his return to the U.S.A. he entered the University of Southern California and studied Music and performed in many cities of the U.S.A.
Mr. Burgie has composed works for "Ballad for Bimshire" and "Island in the Sun", he has also written for a number of internationally famous Artistes. Among his works is "The West Indian Song Book". He is a Life Member of the NAACP.
Mr. Burgie who is a frequent visitor to Barbados has instituted the Irving Burgie Literary Award for Barbadian school children.
Photo of Irving Burgie and copy courtesy of www.barbados.gov.bb