Sally and Ossie among eight awardees at FMC dinner

Leslie Forbes, Louis Saldenah and Ossie Gurley

A prominent  mas’ band leader,  a highly talented carnival  artist, a Grammy  award winner with several soca music hits to his name and a veteran pannist, were among eight persons from Toronto’s Caribbean community who received  awards on Thursday night at  the FMC (Festival Management Committee) Pioneer Award and Volunteer Appreciation dinner.

At this apres-carnival fete, the cream of the crop in Toronto’s  mas’ making community, got together  at the St.Peter and St.Paul banquet hall in Scarborough to honour their own.

Melissa Lothian, one of the MCs at the dinner, in  a  brief  address, had high praise  for the volunteers in the organization .

“You  gift  of  time and  talent has not gone  unnoticed,” she told them.

“Because of your generous spirit and selfless gifts, the Toronto Caribbean Carnival is a richer place because of what you do every year,” she  added.

“They say that the Toronto Caribbean Carnival is the largest cultural event in North America and tonight you should be proud to say that part of their success is because of you,”  she  told the volunteers.

Here are the awardees:

Colin Benjamin (Pioneer award) – A former president  of  the Organisation  of  Calypso Performing Artists, Benjamin has served in various  roles in  the former Caribbean Cultural  Committee and the Festival Management Committee.

Leslie Forbes  (Volunteer award) – Forbes is a  former Toronto school principal who has been actively involved in many aspects of the Carnival. He served on the board of the former Caribbean  Cultural Committee.

Selwyn Gomes ( Ontario Steel  Band Association Award)- Gomes has been playing and teaching the steelpan in Canada  for more than six decades.  He  is a member of the Board of Directors   of  the Ontario Steel Band  Association.

Ossie Gurley ( Organization of  Calypso Performing Artists Award) –

Gurley, a Grammy award-winning musician, has composed the music for several soca hits and road marches. He is described by many in the music industry as a musical genius.

Marline Jones (Kathy Searles Award) – Jones, a carnival artist with a wide knowledge of mas’ construction, design and theme concepts, has volunteered  at mas’ camps and is the current head judge for the Toronto Caribbean carnival.

Louis Saldenah (Toronto Mas’ Bands Association Award)- A veteran band leader, Saldenah has won the  Band  of the year title 17 times and was runner up  13 times.

Jean Macintosh (Culinary Champion Award) – Macintosh is a carnival veteran and the creator of one of the most popular food spots at the Caribbean carnival.

Winsome Thompson (Culinary Champion Award) – Thompson is the owner of the Nanalyn Jerk,  well  known for a range of spicy Caribbean dishes.