On Thursday May 21st, 2020 the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) learned that Denise Joyce Auguste had passed away at her home in Marchand. The Foundation, together with the Arts and Culture fraternity are profoundly saddened by her passing. Saint Lucia has lost a true Gem, Music Icon and selfless daughter of the soil. A mentor who impacted the lives and careers of our many musicians and artistes in Saint Lucia and the world, a testimony to her indelible contribution.
Denise Joyce Auguste affectionately known as “Joyce” a musician, Music Educator, Cultural Activist, Music Icon and Music Researcher born in the community of Laborie, was educated at the Polycarp Preschool (Laborie), the Canon Laurie Anglican School, and St. Joseph’s Convent where she graduated in 1961. Joyce later enrolled at the Trinity College of Music, London.
After graduating from Trinity College of Music in the United Kingdom, in 1967, Joyce Auguste became the Music Supervisor for Schools at the Ministry of Education where she dedicated 32 years of her life in service to state and children. She also served as music tutor at Saint Lucia’s Teacher’s Training College from 1969-1985 and as announcer for Radio Saint Lucia from 1976- 1981.
Ms. Auguste was a founding member of the Hewanorra Voices; a musical group which was founded in 1970. Three LPs can be credited to the Hewanorra Voices and these have been re-mastered as CDS.
Joyce has published Saint Lucia Songs – A Collection of Contemporary and Folk Songs, 1984 and Oral and Folk Traditions of Saint Lucia 1986. In addition, Joyce has produced a number of documentaries for radio, the most prominent being the Music Programme for Schools’ Broadcast which introduced primary school students to the rudiments of music and to Saint Lucia’s music and folklore. This Radio broadcast was very popular amongst school children and adults alike. The popularized anthem for every school child in that era who today remembers Joyce “walk, walk, running walk” is fondly reminiscent.
Over the years, Joyce has received several prestigious awards including: M & C Fine Arts Award for Music 1985, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, (MBE) 1988, Saint Lucia Medal of Merit 1989, an induction into the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) Music Hall of Fame 1990 and the Cultural Development Foundation Cultural Icon (Music) Award 2014.
Joyce was very instrumental in planning and organizing national musical and cultural events for schools including Festival of Carols, National Independence Anniversary School Rallies, National Day Rallies, and rallies for visiting dignitaries Pope Paul 11 (1986) and South African President, Nelson Mandela (1988).
In the coming days the CDF, FRC and Department of Culture and Creative Industries will unveils plans for the celebration of the life of Music Icon Ms. Denise Joyce Auguste.