Submitted by David Comissiong
As all former Harrisonians of the 1970’s era would be aware, the late Adrian “Boo” Husbands was a Harrison College legend in his own lifetime!
All of us who attended Harrison College in the 1970’s suffered the misfortune of being formally introduced to the study of Music via an annoyingly squeaky excuse for a musical instrument known as the “recorder”. But there was one student among us who possessed the sublime musical genius to take the lowly recorder and transform it into an exquisite purveyor of virtuoso musical performance. And that student was Boo Husbands.
Even after all these years I can still vividly picture young Boo Husbands dramatically poised on the stage of the school hall with the recorder pressed to his lips, enthralling the entire student body with his unmatched virtuoso playing. And, of course, watching on proudly from the wings would be our extremely demanding music teacher– the late Janice Millington.
Adrian Husbands– simply “Boo” to his school mates– was a Harrison College musical giant at a time when Harrison College was choc-a-bloc with budding musical giants. Indeed, an incomplete roster of Boo’s IMMEDIATE musical peers at Harrison College reads like a virtual Who’s Who of Barbadian musical talent — Nicholas Brancker, Alan Shepherd, Roger Gittens, Andre Woodvine, Dean Straker, David “Kid Site” Piggott, David Jordan and the list goes on. ( And I am deliberately leaving out the slightly older cohort of talents like John Roett, Wayne “Poonka” Willock, Lee Callendar, Peter Welch etc.)
But, of course, as a school-boy, Boo was easily the most enigmatic of them all !
Needless-to-say, Boo was not only an amazing musical performer both on the recorder and on his mighty trombone, but he was also an outstanding musical leader. Soon after I graduated from Harrison College, I learnt that Boo was leading a new musical band named “Black Orchid“, comprising several of his Harrison College musical comrades in arms.
And then, some years later I ran into Boo and he explained to me that he had just come back from Carnival in St. Vincent, where he had had an epiphanous type experience when he witnessed the musically moving spectacle of a full fledged Vincentian brass band jamming at full blast for hours on end. This experience formed in Boo’s mind the determination to create a similar type of band in Barbados, and this is how “Coalishun“– Boo’s greatest musical ensemble– was born.
Of course Boo didn’t only lead musical bands– he also led and managed Calypso tents like the Headliners Tent, and over the years he helped to nurture and develop many young artistes.
I would also like to place on record the role that Adrian “Boo” Husbands played as a staunch friend and supporter of Cuba and Venezuela and of the Cuban and Venezuelans revolutions.
Boo initially went to Cuba for musical training and simply fell in love with the country, its people and its music. And when, later in life, he was in need of medical attention he knew that he could turn to Cuba, and Cuba— to the best of my knowledge– never disappointed him.
In more recent years Boo became so close to the Government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela— Chavez’s Venezuela– that he was actually employed at the Venezuelan Institute of Culture and Cooperation.
Time and time again Boo would assist the Venezuelan and Cuban Embassies as well as the various friendship and solidarity organizations in putting together and staging musical events. Indeed, the last major interaction I had with Boo was when, in October of last year, he organized an exhilarating concert for us at Solidarity House to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Cubana terrorist tragedy. What a beautiful, giving, conscious and progressive brother he was!
The truth is that Adrian “Boo” Husbands was both a quintessential Bajan and an extremely outstanding Barbadian. He contributed to the musical and cultural development of Barbados and to our community life in a multiplicity of ways and over an extended period of time. Whether it was Crop-over, NIFCA, the Barbados Jazz Festival, Independence , the Calypso tent, his “Lil Boy” calypso persona , community-based concerts, St Joseph musical and artistic gatherings — you name it– Boo was an intrinsic part of it all.
I am trying hard to think, but I cannot recall Adrian “Boo” Husbands ever having received a national award in recognition of his many contributions to our country. And what a shame that is , for Boo certainly made a greater contribution to Barbados than many of the establishment figures who have been given lofty and distinguished awards.
it is such a tragedy that Boo Husbands has left us at this time , for Barbados– in its current dispirited and listless condition– needs its Boo Husbands type sons and daughters now more than ever! Whether all of us know it or not , the entire nation is going to miss Boo Husbands, and Barbados will be a significantly poorer place because of the tragic absence of this unique son of the soil.
On behalf of the officers and members of both the Clement Payne Movement and the International Network In Defense of Humanity I extend profound condolences to Boo’s wife and other relatives and to his many friends and admirers.
Your contribution to the Barbados space shows what an ‘ordinary’ civic minded citizen is able to accomplish. He has done more in his relatively short live to improve the lot of Barbados than many others.
Again, farewell Boo, you will not be forgotten.
A tribute of intimacy and sincerity.Truly a loss to Barbados of one of its unsung heroes.
Condolences to those who he has left behind, wife children family and friends.
This is Boo, on his own terms, not languishing, nor beholden to any man, woman or beast going out with our dignity intact.
David Commisiong does justice to render this tribute to his fellow student and comrade but I will put this to David that while Boo was a tireless champion for culture and governance, men like him will never be rewarded or awarded, because they are not among society’s “anointed” or the golden spoon boys.
Let de ole man give wunna a story about Boo that puts that an ointment in context and permits you to see why one fellow, Boo, would be sidelined, and another man ***, would receive the accolades
When Boo started losing his eyesight he started going to ***.
David C obviously would not know that but during a visit to*** that doctor had occasion to inject him in one eye or as Boo told me, to stab him. To repeat more would be to reveal the identity of the man but I find it comedic that Adrian will be a footnote, if so much, in the history of the country but that butcher is now among the golden boys of Bajan Who is Who.
Adrian’s life and this tribute just led me to reflect on this aspect of life where we award and pay tributes to empty sojourners and accord them pomp and passion while the few Boos of the world will simply pass unnoticed
Your tribute Commisiong is well received by this ole man and heartily endorsed.
But it begs the question why do we only seem capable of mentioning the dead?
Even in your list of contemporaries you speak of others yet it would appear that you like many here prefer tributes for others WHEN THE BECOME WORMS MEAT, rather than when they breathe albeit partially infested by those same worms….
Can recall vividly when Boo travelled to Cuba for his eye surgery.
@ Honourable Blogmaster
Don’t get me wrong. He did travel there for treatment.
I have but appended the care and after care of the local regime of experimenters to the better disseminated information
Thanks for your commendation of the tribute.
I would like to draw to your attention that I have systematically tried to highlight and honour the contribution of “unsung heroes” through an annual Award called the “Clement Payne National Hero Award”, although I do concede that we last gave out this award in 2013. The award was established in or about the year 1990. I try to play my part, but I can only do so much.
I hope Barbadians appreciate the value of starting musical instruments practical training at Primary School level.Sports and music, practical and theoretical are a sine qua non in the development of discipline,patience,listening,interpretation and other valuable qualities which should serve in the holistic development of the persona.Pride in speaking and pronunciation of standard English,tips on conduct and other social graces should be honed at that level and prior to the introduction to the curriculum,say about the first 6 weeks of primary school.It is more often than not a sadly lacking feature of our public speakers.
Janice Millington’s father, James Millington, has to be considered the father of musical instrument playing at secondary schools. When he began the teaching with a Cadre of five boys at Caw’mere, under the Headmastership of Major Noot. He did not get much support at the beginning from the authorities, but he persisted. Our youth orchestra, and the school bands at every secondary school, as well as the teaching of music has blossomed, and people like Boo, and the names you called are all seeds falling from that tree. Boo is a legend, and legends like him do not need national rewards. The life they lived, the people they have helped, and who brings joy into the lives of others, are rewarded by the accolades they receive. When the Diaspora conference was held here some years ago Gemma and Jesyl Castillo; two young Cuban musicians; one playing the violin, and the other playing the flute,, got together with Boo, willie Kerr, and a few to play and enjoy composing some beautiful original music. The concert they put on at the Venezuelan Embassy was memorable, Gemma and Jesyl expressed their condolences to the family and his Barbadian family. I too express my condolences.
But David; on this occasion, why have you injected this: “…Barbados– in its current dispirited and listless condition–”. Is it really necessary? Denigrating the country in an article bemoaning the death of a good and great Bajan, is what contributes to, what you call “the listless condition”. Every negativity you express to the world, is counter balanced by people like Boo. We have a good progressive country. It may not be progressing in the way that many people think it should, or the rate at which others think it should, but it is progressing. Every one of us has to do our small part and maintain its stability, but pulling it down only keeps it in the barrel. Give us a break, and ensure that we appreciate and support people like Boo who contribute to make it great; for it is great.
If you really knew Boo you should be aware it was a strident advocate on the side of the Josephines at the height of the water crisis. In fact if you check his Facebook page you will be able to glean his views about a declining Barbados. At his passing is as good a time to highlight matters he felt passionate.
You don’t live here and you have no idea the embarrassment enlightened Bajans go through daily on account of the inertia and ignorance of this present DLP government.The privileged whites getting whiter and richer and the downpressed middle class scrunting.The economy into crisis,the Water Authority got the cart before the horse,the environmental ministry in deep doodoo,Cropover lost money lashear,the Unesco designation under threat,the bus service upside down,pot holes becoming craters and Education going back to the turn of the 20th century headed by a minister who cannot put a decent sentence together if ito was going to upgrade the current pisspoor opinion in which he is held by the people not to mention the teachers and 5th and 6th formers.I can list nuff more foolishness but for the boredom of repetition as seen on BU almost daily and which I am sure you see but for won’t of playing ostrich when it suits you.
Rest in Peace Boo. I remember you well – in the Elite bus stand on evenings, unlike many of your contemporaries, it did not matter which school you attended. We were all poor children from the country and as such we were family. My condolences to Anthea and Kyle.
An excellent tribute by David Comissiong. Adrian “Boo” Husbands , no doubt, made an great contribution to our country. May he rest in piece.
that should read a great contribution.
Let him rest in peace. Everybody in Barbados suffers at one time or another, for one reason or another. A glowing tribute to one of the true sons of the soil is not the time or pled to get political. Contribute to quoter blog, or write another article, but do not juxtapose it in a tribute to a revered cohort, countryman and humanist. There is a time and place for everything, and I do not feel that was the time or place for hose expressions.
I am in Barbados, and even when I am in Canada I listen to VOB all day every day. I have family here, and I read the news every day.
What let him rest in peace what!
Boo would have wanted his death to be used to promote change for the good of those who live.
You said “…Education going back to the turn of the 20th century…” REALLY?That would be around 1999. Students were charged part of their tuition fee only year before last. What turn of the century what!
I appreciate your candour and given your seniority I overlook your mental lapses but……..the turn of the 20th century is more like 1899!wuhloss!muh belly!waaiiiah!
Are we not in the 21st century? Isn’t a century one hundred years?1899-1999,20th century, 2000-2099, 21st century, so 2015 is in the 21st century
You are right. The turn of the century 2000-2999. So we are stallion the 20th century, But have we really regressed to 2000?
@ Alvin CumminsJanuary 22, 2017 at 9:40 PM
You still don’t get what Gabriel was ‘trumpeting’, do you old fool?
Once a fool always a fool. Age ought to bring a measure of wisdom but in your case arrant stupidity has been your reward.
We remember well your obnoxious disrespect of OSA for proposing a programme of Privatization to deal with the fiscal problems plaguing Barbados.
Why don’t you just do your yard-fowl duty and in true weathercock vane put a case for Privatization as your ‘collegiate’ of deceitful lying party of yard-birds are singing daily?
Alvin is not a fool.
He is an idiot.
There is a difference…..
Though we never did much together, boo is held in the highest respect. Since we met during NIFCA 1977. We linked up again with Communique as students at BCC, with black orchid and again with coalition. This man was always the adhesive within everything he associated with. His passing has brought nothing but sadness at this time, but I will always cherish the times we would have shared, his unwavering determination during his medical challenges remain a source of strength to me personally.
This is indeed a time to celebrate a tremendous son of the soil and I will be watching to see how much is done to keep aloft the Adrian ” Book ” Husbands flag. I have my own idea for my contribution, on which I shall follow through. In the mean time let’s just celebrate this brother without the politicisation. It’s most inappropriate at this time. R I P my brother.