Musician Al Broderick performs for the crowd at the BVI Red Cross Music for Humanity fundraiser on Friday night at Government House. (Photo: CLAIRE SHEFCHIK)

The melodies floating over the crowd gathered at Government House for the BVI Red Cross Music for Humanity fundraiser on Friday delighted attendees’ ears to the record-setting tune of over $40,000.

As hurricane season approaches, Director Helen Frett explained why that funding is vital and thanked the British Red Cross for its support since the 2017 storms.

“But the funding is not going to last forever,” she said, “so we are trying to raise our own funds to be more self-sufficient, and this is one of the events we are running to enable that.”

Patron Millie Jaspert, wife of Governor Gus Jaspert, detailed some of the programmes offered by the local organisation, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2016. They range from disaster r lief to the post-hurricane microloan programme and appliance grants to ongoing efforts such as the blood donor register, thrift shop and men’s health fair.

Ms. Jaspert added that since she arrived in the VI, “everything I’ve got to know about this organisation, I’m just blown away by it.”

For Ms. Frett, the event was bittersweet, as she announced plans to retire after this year, thanking the hundreds of volunteers and donors who have contributed to the organisation during her tenure.

“It’s been a wonderful experience over the years and I’ve met some marvelous people,” she said.


The centrepiece of the night, besides the silent and live auction and raffle, was the music, which came in a wide variety of styles from steel pan to jazz to folk tunes to pop, funk and rock, offering something for just about everyone.

Marlon “Panman” Abner, Drexel Glasgow, Rachel Trotman, Caave Stoutt, and Al Broderick were among the musicians who kept the energy high throughout the event.

“The hours of practice to perform at this level is unbelievable,” said Ms. Jaspert, calling the fundraiser “a chance for us to showcase not only the breadth and depth of musical talent and influences within the territory but also for us to share some of our work and thank those who continue to support us.”

Between hors d’oeuvres and TICO cocktails, event emcee Trefor Grant urged attendees to bid as groups for the biggest-ticket items of the night, including charter boat trips on catamarans Gypsy Princess, Bodhisattva and Mahasattva. It didn’t take long to reach the quadruple digits.

The governor also urged donors to “let their hair down and lighten their pockets” for the Red Cross, imploring them to support “an absolutely fantastic organisation” that has helped “during some of our worst times in 2017 and beyond and helped some of our most vulnerable people in society.”