Commemorative stamps released in honour of Guyanese composer

Several commemoratives stamps were on Thursday unveiled in honour of the 100th Birth Anniversary of famous Guyanese composer Valarie Roadway.
In a simple event held in the auditorium of the National Library, some who had personally known Roadway and others who had heard of her gathered to reflect on her life.
Roadway had composed several National Songs, including “O Beautiful Guyana,” “Kanaïma,” “Hymn for Guyana’s Children,” “Arise, Guyana,” and “Guyana the Free”.
She also put to music the famed Guyanese Independence poem by Martin Carter, “Let Freedom Awaken.”
Roadway, who had also been a teacher, died in 1970. She was awarded the Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH) for her contributions to the country.
Earlier this year, Government commissioned the Valerie Rodway House on Carmichael Street in Cummingsburg, Georgetown. The house was previously the home of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and had been an annex to the Governor’s House.
Delivering remarks, Public Telecommunications Minister Catherine Hughes noted that Guyana’s history is sprinkled with contributions from remarkable women, one of whom was Roadway.
The Minister noted that the event is the celebration of the great strides that Roadway had made to the development of Guyana with respect to its identity.
“She was a Guyanese who never got tired of the beauty of our country, a true lady to who everything was a thing of beauty. Every sound had a musical note; she wrote about it, she put music to it, and in the 1960s helped to bring about a period in Guyana’s history when national songs were sung by everyone and all the time,” Hughes reflected.
The Minister further encouraged Guyanese to read a short biography on the life of Roadway written by Dr Vibert Cambridge and published. According to her, it would increase appreciation for the composer.
“…to read a portion of the article, titled Women in History, and I quote: ‘Her music gave the words of our poets a special kind of majesty. She probably selected poems that encouraged and nurtured positive values, service to the nation, respect of our heritage, and the creation of a caring society’, end quote”, the Minister paraphrased.
Speaking on behalf of the Rodway family, a niece of Roadway reflected on the life of her aunt. She revealed that event though Roadway died when she was just 12 years old, her memories of her aunt entail music.
“I do remember going to her house for Christmas carols, and I remember visiting (an) event when she was in a choir; but from the time she was a small child, she used to make up music, I remember my uncle saying. And her music was really prolific during the last 10 years of her life; and as you can see, her music transcends time, it is as current now as it was back then,” the woman reflected.
Over time, becoming one of Guyana’s most celebrated patriotic and classical music composers, Roadway’s work is widely known and valued for its qualities of diversity, national pride and commitment.