Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 7th 2014 Contents A11
Friday, February 7, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Fr Odo van der Heijdt, despite being born in Hol-
land and receiving a pension from that country,
yesterday was described as "Trini to the bone" by
Abbot Fr John Pereira.
In delivering the homily at his funeral, Fr Pereira
said Van der Heijdt, the former prior at Our Lady
of Exile, Mt St Benedict, was Dutch by birth but
West Indian by choice.
"He may have been born in the Netherlands, he
may have had a Dutch passport and he may have
been getting a pension from the Dutch Government,
however, if you really wanted to know where he came
from, where his heart truly lay, you simply had to
tell him that the West Indies cricket team lost again
and then you would have understood," Pereira said.
"I think that he suffered more pain towards the
end of his life from the miserable state of West Indies
cricket than from any physical or medical complaint,"
He said Van der Heijdt was always there for the
He added: "We are talking about a man who gave
Pallbearers carry the coffin bearing the
body of Fr Odo van der Heijdt to his final
resting place at the Mt St Benedict
cemetery yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
60 years of his life to the Mount and to the pilgrims
who visited this place day after day. We are talking
about a man who truly lived the Benedictine vow of
"His love for Caribbean culture was epitomised in
his love for the discourses of Paul Keens-Douglas
and especially Tantie Merle at the Oval."
Van der Heijdt was said to have had a passion for
cricket and represented the monastery as their wick-
etkeeper on several occasions against the seminary.
Pereira said that was indeed a cultural transition
as Holland was only now emerging on the world
He said Van der Heijdt also often looked forward
to a juicy game of all-fours.
"God provided Fr Odo with a community of
brethren whom he was able to serve in diverse ways
and for the past ten years as their prior.
"God provided Fr Odo with persons who sought
to find peace in their hearts and who taught Fr Odo
what true faith is. He encountered these persons in
the parlour ministry and their stories helped to
increase his own faith.
"He has always been grateful to the pilgrims who
come to the Mount day after day. He once said that
in the monastery he was introduced to the psalms
but it was the pilgrims who taught him how to pray,"
Van der Heijdt died on Sunday at the age of 83.
priest laid to rest
PETER RAY BLOOD
The biennial T&T Music Festival
will not be held this year because of
a series of administrative problems.
The lack of a festival organising com-
mittee is one of the reasons put forward
for the cancellation of the premier
music competition, which has been a
part of the national vision for promoting
music since its inception in 1947.
The festival has been a vehicle for
showcasing the talent and prowess of
both children and adults throughout
Contacted on Monday, interim com-
mittee chairman Lincoln Warner said,
"The Music Festival Association is faced
with administrative problems, so a deci-
sion was made to cancel.
"We just didn t have time to organise.
A meeting is to be held in March to
plan an election. We are the interim
committee, which is just setting up
things for someone else to take over."
However, the decision has upset those
in the fraternity who were preparing
to showcase their talent on the plat-
Choirmistress and musical director
of Bishop Anstey High School choir,
Lorraine Granderson, said: "It is very
distressing to think that a festival that
has been run successfully for so many
years will not be happening this year.
"It is upsetting for all the young peo-
ple who look forward to this music fes-
tival to participate in competition, pace
themselves, challenge themselves, will
be denied this opportunity," she said.
"What is even more stressful is that
there are some children for whom this
would have been their last festival, and
for others this would have been their
first and only festival.
"I really hope that the T&T Music
Festival Association never allows this
to ever happen again. Helen May John-
stone must be turning in her grave. She
was one of the people who lobbied to
see this festival grow to the heights it
But Jocelynne Sealy, a former festival
manager and secretary of the Music
Festival for 15 years, said the interim
body had no choice in the matter.
"The cancellation was absolutely
necessary, as a lot of internal challenges
arose. Right now, the festival secretariat
has no home and stuff is stored all over
the place. The preparation just has not
been put in place."
Describing herself as former chief
cook and bottlewasher for the festival,
Sealy said a manual had been written
that could have been followed to stage
all festivals, "but was not followed."
Sealy is also the author of a festival
Andre Mangatal, the overall male
champion of the festival, commented:
"I am disappointed because the fes-
tival does help upcoming musicians
greatly, particularly in classical music.
I hope that the parties involved can
come together and sort it out so that
things like this will not happen in the
2014 Music Festival scrapped
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