Celebrating the life and work of Geraldine Connor

March 23, 2012 in Blog

Professor Gus John is proud to invite all of you to the “Gala of Gari“: a celebration of the life and work of Geraldine Connor featuring the words, dance and music that she loved. 

This special gala in remembrance of Geraldine Connor will have extracts from Geraldine’s best-known work Carnival Messiah (see video above) – her large-scale reinvention of Handel’s Messiah, originally presented at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 1999 – and feature specially devised performances by some of her favourite collaborators.  Participants will include classically trained singers Ronald Samm, Simone Sauphanor and Brian Green, actors Ram John Holder, Renee Castle, Nigel Wong and Jojo Kelly, dancers David Hamilton, Ayo Jones and Jonathan Bishop, a piece by South Asian company Kala Sangam, and music across the spectrum, from steel band to gospel.

Join us for a night to make you smile and make you cry, to make you clap your hands and stamp your feet, but most of all to celebrate the life of Geraldine Connor, a great teacher, composer, performer, director, musicologist and all-round inspiration to us all.  There will never be another Geraldine, but this evening is to help keep her memory and her legacy alive. All money generated on the evening will be used to continue Geraldine’s work.

The “Gala of Gari” will happen on Saturday, March 24th (at 7.30pm), in the Theatre Royal Stratford. All tickets cost £10.

Click here for more information about the event and the venue.

Picture: “Carnival Messiah“, by carnivalmessiah.com (Flickr)

Eulogy to Geraldine Roxanne Connor

November 1, 2011 in Gus talks, Speeches

I feel deeply honoured to have been asked by Geraldine’s family to deliver this eulogy.

I have undertaken many an assignment in my day, but none with such foreboding as this.  For, how does one do justice to such a monumental figure, one with such irrepressible…., volcanic energy, an energy which won’t be totally consumed, I suspect, even by death itself?

So, let me say to Geraldine something I had cause to say to her frequently, face to face: ‘Geraldine, behave!’   To which, quick as a flash, the reply would come:  ‘Why?  You doh see these so-and-so people getting me damn vex?’

Love still, Sis.  Whatever you might find wanting in the next few minutes, doh vex wid me!

There are many battles which are never won in the lifetime of a generation.  Struggles which are seemingly endless and which each succeeding generation must join in audacious affirmation of our right to free expression, our fundamental instinct for freedom, our essential creativity and our capacity to transform ourselves and change the world through artistic expression, through being the embodiment of the immanence of culture and through our unwavering belief in what we can be.

Geraldine Roxanne Connor was socialised and nurtured in the struggle that was joined by the generation that went before her….  Humble souls, yet iconic figures such as Rosa Cuthbert Guy, Una Marson, Cy Grant, Errol John, Lloyd Reckord, Joan Hooley, Earl Cameron, Nadia Cattouse and of course the major influences in her life and chosen career, her own parents, Edric and Pearl Connor. Read the rest of this entry →