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Tributes paid to one of Bermuda’s best pianists, Norma Brown-Raynor

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Norma Brown-Raynor (Photograph from ’Music on the Rock’ by Dale Butler)

Tributes were paid today to one of the island’s top pianists who died last month.

Norma Brown-Raynor, 92, was “a highly sought after pianist who added key rhythms to the Aldano Sextette Band”, according to Dale Butler, a music historian and former government minister.

Mr Butler added: “She played 19 years with Aldano and was inducted into the Bermuda Music Hall of Fame in 2011.”

The band was one of the island’s longest playing.

The head of the Aldano Sextette Band, Kenneth Smith, 99, said that Mrs Brown-Raynor played in the band from 1974 to 1993.

“She was very obliging; she played just about anything you asked her for. She was a good personality to have in the band.”

Mr Smith added: “She always made good time. I used to pick her up for the band all those years and she was very timely.

“She was pristine when it came to her dress. She looked immaculate.”

The Bermuda Entertainment Union (BEU) said she offered “sterling service” to the band.

Ms Brown-Raynor joined “several other prominent bands”.

The BEU added: “She was an asset to those well-disciplined bands who played in all of our hotels for visitors and residents and at numerous fundraisers held in the community.

“She also played for amateur shows at the Old Opera House, at debutante balls and at Miss Bermuda Contests.”

The union said she became the organist at Heard Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Pembroke, where she “delighted the audience” – including the late jazz drummer Clarence "Tootsie" Bean.

The BEU called her “a very humble person who loved to learn and give back”.

She was celebrated by the Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation along with the Bermuda Federation of Musicians and Variety Artists for “outstanding contributions to Bermuda's music” in August 2008, at an event called "A Day for Sugars".

The BEU added: “She leaves to cherish her memory daughters, Dorothea Brown and Marquita Burchall (Roderick), grandchildren, Ché Brown and Zulema Burchall, three great-grandchildren, numerous other family, friends and the BEU family.”

Ms Raynor was predeceased by her daughter, Kay Brown-Dutton.

⋅ Norma Brown-Raynor, a top pianist, was born on April 10, 1929. She died in April 2021. Ms Brown-Raynor was 92.

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Published May 02, 2021 at 2:36 pm (Updated May 02, 2021 at 5:03 pm)

Tributes paid to one of Bermuda’s best pianists, Norma Brown-Raynor

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