Photos/Review: Shine’s 60th Birthday Celebration

February 18, 2016

[Written by Glenn Fubler]

There was a wonderful celebration of the 60th Birthday of Wendell ‘Shine’ Hayward at Fairmont Southampton Princess on Valentine’s Day.

Coordinated by Shine’s two children; popular comedian Nadanja and daughter, Nishanthi – a teacher and actress; the event offered both a reflection on our shared past and the future potential of Bermuda’s entertainment industry.

My wife and I felt obliged to attend, given Shine’s history of volunteering for many teens, including our son; as director of the Bermuda Youth Jazz Ensemble. However, right from the start, our thoughts of ‘obligation’ soon melted, as it became evident that we were in for a special evening.

Staged in the Princess’ Empire Room, where Shine began his music career, with the legendary Ghandi Burgess Band, in 1980; the ‘Walk Down Memory Lane’ was perfectly framed.


While partaking a delicious dinner, guests enjoyed the song styling’s of Kassie Caines, lead-singer of Tony Brannon’s ‘Big Chill’. She is a consummate entertainer, demonstrating her own interpretations to a wide variety of ‘covers’, as she engaged the audience. She even got us to pause from our dessert for a sing-along.

After a presentation summarizing Shine’s story, he appeared from out of the crowd of 200 or so, vocalising the night’s theme, ‘Me and My Music’, one of the many originals included in the program.

He was backed by a band of some of Bermuda’s finest, involving three violinists; including John Woolridge, Dennis Fox, Tony Barry [keyboards]; Tony Cox [drums]; Dereck Simmons [guitar]; Stan Gilbert, Dennis Francis [bass] and Mackie Hart [percussions].

Following that up-beat opening and given the challenges revealed during Shine’s Bio – such as living with Multiple Sclerosis [MS] – Shine began his ‘Opus’ with a shift. He led a soulful rendition of “Jesus; You are the Centre of my Joy”, which included the female vocal group “Spiritual Peace” providing beautiful harmonies, taking the saxophonist back to his roots, at the Curving Avenue, Church of God.

‘Spiritual Peace’ had performed as teenagers with Shine during the 1980’s, in a series of Jazz Suppers that he staged on an annual basis.

Another reconnection included reggae artist ‘Live Wire’ singing another original – “Look Out for Reggae Music”. Shine had taught ‘Wire’ at Devonshire Academy in the ‘80’s. A touching moment occurred in the revelation that Shine became a father-figure to this student whose own father was incarcerated. It was during that period that Shine was diagnosed with MS and air-evacuated abroad – another loss for the teenager.

With a nod to his own mortality, Shine on alto sax, was joined by noted guitarist, Dayton Wharton, for a duet which ‘covered’ the Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane rendition of “Why was I Born?” In introducing the beautiful piece, Shine encouraged the audience to reflect on that question from time-to-time, in order to access our own ‘Purpose’ and commit to some contribution to both Bermuda and our World.

There was a nod to Valentine’s Day which included a medley of Shine’s love- song originals and performed by Charo Hollis, Lloyd Holder and Nadanja.

Another milestone referenced that evening, was Shine’s time at Berklee College of Music, a World-famous centre of Jazz education, Shine reflected on how as a teenage musician there had been rivalries between ‘town & country’ groups who competed at the ‘Battle of the Bands’ at Rosebank Theatre.

He did this while referencing his special relationship with Johnny Woolridge – one of the island’s finest pianists; a former rival who became a collaborator at Berklee. The band performed one of the special tunes that Johnny had written in college, “ Bach to the Islands”.

Shine also gave a salute to upcoming generations when he brought out a young quartet. With Julian Johnson[keyboard], Torry Tacklyn [bass], Leroy Francis [drums] and Aaron Spencer [saxophone]. They are in their 20’s, except the saxophonist who is only sixteen. He demonstrated his potential, duelling saxophones with Shine, in a moving rendition of ”The Prayer”.

The evening was a mix of both joy and soulful pathos; tid-bits from Shine’s life – how he got his nick- name; stories of getting into trouble with mates – the ups and downs.

We happened to sitting next to hotel guests, a couple from Boston who were enthralled throughout the more than 3 hours of entertainment. Mr. Hayward demonstrated that Bermuda has a rich musical past; but also the potential of a future that Shines.

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Comments (2)

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  1. N says:

    Great job fam! xo

  2. This was such a fitting tribute, and Mom Hayward still looks good, Shine congratulations and Thank’s be to God for your trust and faith in him, for He has done great things for you and He shall continue to let you shine.