SOLEMN WALK: Friends and relatives of Wayne Berkeley carry his casket out of the church yesterday.

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'Genius' masman Berkeley buried

By Wayne Bowman wayne.bowman@trinidadexpress.com  

"Genius" and "perfectionist" were two of the words used to describe masman Wayne Berkeley yesterday.

Following a funeral service yesterday at the Church of the Assumption, Long Circular Road, Maraval Berkeley was laid to rest at the Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Port of Spain.

Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston "Gypsy" Peters was the lone Member of Parliament in attendance.

Absent were Berkeley's fellow mas makers Peter Minshall and Brian MacFarlane.

Among the members of the mas fraternity at the funeral were former president of the National Carnival Bands Association Richard Afong and Earl Patterson with whom Berkeley worked closely for some time.

Also present was eight-time King of Carnival Peter Samuel.

Others paying their respects to Berkeley included Meg and Dana Cheekes of the Pulse8 Mas Band, Ian McKenzie of Genesis Mas Band, Giselle LaRonde-West, Earl Crosby, Eric Butler, Paul Richards, Bill Trotman, Ray Holman, Clem Lue Yat, Nigel Scott, Glen Davis, Zalayhar Hassanali, Cyril Collier, John Humphrey and former chairman of the National Carnival Commission Kenny DeSilva.

As the congregation waited for the service to begin they were invited to reflect on Berkeley's life and work as they listened to musical presentations by among others, Kelwyn Hutcheon who sang "Wonderful World" and Tricia Lee Kelshall-Bynoe who performed "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".

During the service Wendell Constantine sang "How Great Thou Art".

Denyse Plummer was supposed to sing "Amazing Grace" for the meditation, but sang it during the reflection period.

Berkeley's brother Oswald delivered the eulogy in which he said that Berkeley had 65 godchildren and had been looking forward to being a part of the European tour of the musical titled Carnival Messiah next year.

Berkeley said his brother was known to walk through the band during the parade, "incognito, wearing shorts to ensure that everything was the way he wanted it to be".

Berkeley also said that along with his passion for mas and designing sets and costumes for theatrical productions and Broadway musicals, his brother also loved horses and owned several racehorses over the years.

Rosemary Stone who worked alongside Berkeley for years said in a short presentation that she was once locked out of a photo shoot by Berkeley because she arrived late.

She said Berkeley was a perfectionist but always a pleasure to work with.

Also making a presentation was dancer/choreographer Thora Dumbell who said she met Berkeley when he was 15 years old and he had approached her at a show saying he wanted to work with her and that he was "real good" at what he did.

Dumbell also said Berkeley insisted on perfection and was "a genius and innovative".

"Those who live in your heart never die. Wherever you see a pretty costume or beautiful painting, Wayne is there. Whenever you hear a Broadway tune, Wayne is there," she said.

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