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Wellington Darrell Sr (1931-2018)

Wellington Darrell Sr, known to many as Steede or Steve, a versatile Bermudian musician, has died.

Mr. Darrell was 87.

Mr Darell was a multi-talented musician and played guitar, accordion, congo drums, the organ and saxophone.

But the instrument he excelled in and mastered was the piano.

Mr Darrell played many styles of music such as jazz, pop, rock, calypso, blues, classical, hymns and the like.

He was often seen performing on Saturday nights at the former Top Hat Theatre, where he was a fixture of the stage shows, singing and playing music.

Family said when the shows were over, he spent the rest of the night doing the jitterbug, a dance his friends said he was “one of the best” at.

Mr Darrell joined the-then Bermuda Militia Artillery in 1950 to become part of its band and served as a musician from 1952 to 1955.

He became a bartender at the former Belmont Manor Hotel in Paget to support his family.

His family said he crafted a top reputation as a mixologist, which helped him win the UK Guild for Bartenders' Certificate in 1961 for his signature drink the Strawhat Cocktail.

Mr Darrell retired from Belmont after 34 years and owned and operated a general maintenance business, which involved tiling, plumbing, electrical work, masonry work, and painting.

After he retired for the second time, Mr Darrell's love for music had not diminished and he began a career dedicated only to music, his first love.

He played with top performers like Ghandi Burgess, Freeman “King” Trott, the Aldano Quintet, North Village Band and others.

He held audiences spellbound at The Captain's Lounge and Waterloo House in Hamilton, the Elbow Beach cocktail lounge in Paget and Southampton Princess Cocktail Lounge and elsehwere.

Fellow musician Kenneth Smith, leader of the Aldano group, said Mr Darrell was a versatile artist skilled in several instruments.

Mr Smith added: “He was very versatile, and also very punctual, which was most important to me. We played different places like the Reefs, Pompano and down at Grotto Bay.

“He was a personality, a nice guy, sharply dressed.”

Mr Darrell's last performance was at the airport with his blind brother-in-law Freeman “King” Trott.

The two provided entertainment with Mr Darrell on the keyboard and King on the guitar for arriving tourists and residents.

Mr Darrell called it a day in 2009 after six years at the airport and retired “feeling satisfied and fulfilled”.

His son, also Wellington, has become an accomplished trumpeter who can play two trumpets at once.

The younger Mr Darrell also served in what is now the Royal Bermuda Regiment and joined aged 15, to join the band like his father.

His talent took him to America, where now lives, and he sings and plays with bands and orchestras.

Horn man: Wellington Darrell

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Published September 20, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 20, 2018 at 8:30 pm)

Wellington Darrell Sr (1931-2018)

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