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Message From The Hon. Charles T. Maynard, MP Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture

It is my pleasure and privilege to extend congratulations to the St. Augustine’s College Class of 1971 on the celebration of your fortieth Anniversary as a Graduating Class. I also take this opportunity to express my admiration to St. Augustine’s College on the great strides the school has made in providing Bahamians with excellent educational opportunities including the highest standards of academic and extra-curricular achievements. The commemoration of this anniversary with a presentation of the world-renowned funk and disco Bahamian Group, “T-Connection” is a great feat. Not only does it assist with fundraising efforts of your school but it also provides the opportunity for our nation to, once more, experience the vibrant and energetic performance of these Musical Giants. The T- Connection boosted the image of The Bahamas on the world stage with their successful musical career. They earned two hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1977 and 1979 and five Top 10 hits on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart. In the United Kingdom, they posted five entries in the UK Singles Chart, with “Do What You Wanna Do”, their most popular song. I am happy to lend my support to the fundraising efforts of S.A.C. Class of 1971, thank you for “Reconnecting” us with our past to ensure a better future for our nation’s youth. The Honourable Charles T. Maynard, MP Minister

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SAINT AUGUSTINE’S COLLEGE CLASS OF 1971 Class of ‘71 1971 - 2011 40 Years “Leading The Way”


Table (

Bonamy, Gregory H. Core & Sponsorship Committees

Christie, Wayde A. Core, Souvenir Booklet & Sponsorship Committees

DeGregory-Darville, Shelley A. Core & Souvenir Booklet Committees/Biographies

Galanis, Philip C. Core & Sponsorship Committees/Class Message



McKenzie-Weech, Janice V. Core & Souvenir Booklet Committees

Bartlett, Robert A. SAC Website/Communications

Newbold, Anthony A. Core Committee/Media

Simms, Ronald Production Management

Cargill, Marie Core Committee/Legal

Albury, L. Frederick Core Committee

Barnett-Adderley, Judith Core Committee

Richardson-O'Brien, Gertrude A. Core Committee

Davis-Maciel, Kathy (SAC Class of '77) Capital City Marketing, Marketing/Event Management Consultant

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Message From

S.A.C. Class of ‘71 Committee This year marks the fortieth graduation anniversary of the St. Augustine's College (SAC) Class of 1971. That Class began high school in 1966 as an all-boys' institution, and witnessed historic transformations, initially to a co-institutional and ultimately to a co-educational high school with the amalgamation of Xavier's College. By the time we graduated in May, 1971, the Class looked very different from the one that began just five years earlier. It was also the last year that Fr. Bonaventure Dean served as Headmaster of SAC, before leaving The Bahamas for a new, secular life in Canada. In this, our fortieth graduation anniversary, just one week after his death, we recall with great fondness, respect and admiration the enormously lasting positive impact that he has made on our lives both in high school and thereafter. It was his magnanimous and socially-responsible spirit that has motivated us to give something back to our alma mater. Life-long friendships among many of the alumni of that Class began in high school and have dramatically deepened over the past forty years. In recognition of the immeasurable contribution SAC has made to our educational and spiritual development, the Class of '71 decided that it would like to stage an event that would raise substantial funds for the "S.A.C. Capital Needs Projects" to assist St. Augustine’s in its development efforts. The Class of '71 felt that the best way to realize this objective would be to organize a concert that would feature an iconic Bahamian musical group -- the T-Connection -- whose music is featured every day on radio stations throughout The Bahamas. Although their music has been well-received, enjoyed and appreciated, in our opinion, this outstanding musical group has not been given the accolades that they deserve. Many Bahamians listen to and love their music, often without realizing that they are our very own. We are therefore extremely honored that the T- Connection has agreed to support our objectives to assist SAC. The T-Connection has amassed a superlative array of musical achievements like no other group in The Bahamas. We are pleased to mention just a few of them below. • •

• • • • •

In 1976, 'Disco Magic' was featured on a TV episode of 'Good Times' and was listed on the Top 10 US Dance Charts; In 1977, 'Do What You Wanna Do' was the #1 song for a record 7 consecutive weeks on the Top-10 US Dance Charts. It was also listed on the Top-10 Charts in Britain, was rated #15 on the R&B Charts and #46 on the Pop Charts. This song was featured on American Bandstand and was nominated for the Billboard Music Award; In 1978 'On Fire' was listed #5 on the Top-10 US Dance Charts and #15 on the Top-10 Charts in Britain; In 1979, 'Midnight/Saturday Night' was listed #2 for many weeks on the US Top-10 Dance Charts, and on the Top-50 Pop Charts; In 1981, the Group performed 'Paradise' & 'Groove City' live on the TV show Soul Train; ‘Everything Is Cool’ was listed #10 on the R&B Charts; In 1982, 'A Little More Love' was listed on the Top-50 R&B Charts; In 1984 'Take It To The Limit' was listed on the Top-60 R&B Charts and was T-Connection's last charted single.

The Class of 1971 would like to express our deepest, heartfelt gratitude to the T-Connection, J. Mitchell who will be the lead act, our sponsors, donors, supporters and all who have contributed to making this concert a magnificent success which will greatly benefit our alma mater, St. Augustine's College. T-Connection - 3


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Congratulations To

S.A.C. Class of ‘71 from

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THEOPHILUS COAKLEY & THE T CONNECTION A Talent is Born It all started in the late 50s/early 60s with an old, worn piano that Cargill Creek, Andros native Lency Coakley convinced his employer in Nassau to give him rather than discard. With an innate passion for music, at every opportunity for his enjoyment, he would ‘fool around’ pecking with one finger at a time on the piano. The piano sat very stately in the family’s living room of their small Farrington Road home in Nassau, and all knew that it should be touched by their dad’s hands only. But little did he know that Theo, his first son and fourth of 13 children with wife Ruth Helen Moss-Coakley, had his own plan to emulate his Dad. “At first, Theo would make every excuse to pass by or walk around the piano about 20 times an hour, just touching and letting his fingers lightly pass over the keys, but never sitting down to play,” says Marion, his older sister, now a minister and entrepreneur residing in Chicago. Leona, his younger sister by two years now residing in Seattle, confesses “Sometimes I would catch Theo secretly playing at night when everyone was asleep.” No one realized how passionate and a natural Theo was until a few months later when the kids were all outside playing and suddenly heard music coming from the living room. “We stampeded to the living room to find Theo sitting there, playing a gospel tune. Mom and Dad also came dashing. Mom’s eyes were as big as saucers and Daddy excitedly exclaimed ‘Ruth, dis boy cud play!’ We were all ecstatic, laughing and clapping. We all sang along as Theo played.” Being the apple of her eye and realizing his God-given gift, Ruth was not satisfied with Theo just playing ‘by ear’, and was determined to send Theo to music lessons to ensure he could read music. With no regrets, Ruth scrubbed floors and cleaned houses in Cable Beach to make this happen. Theo’s first music teacher, Mrs. Muriel Mallory, very quickly confirmed to Ruth that Theo was the most gifted person she had ever taught. Theo benevolently adds “I still wonder how she scraped up the cash; but she did.” Happy Childhood in Farrington Road When questioned to elaborate a bit on his childhood, Theo responds with a modest shrug “there was a lot of music in my childhood”, but Marion expounded “Theo was a quiet and gentle spirit, who loved deeply. “As a child, he had the biggest heart and would give you his last without a second thought and expected nothing in return. Today, nothing has changed…Theo’s commitment and dedication to making the best/clean music from the heart have endured over the years and still totally connect to his musical instincts and raw talent today. Music runs deep in his veins. If you pay close attention while conversing with Theo, you will notice that his fingers are always moving, playing…In all my life, I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Theo; he is the same humble and gentle spirit he’s always been.” She recalled a hilarious incident in Nassau when the two of them so proudly built a boxcar and thought a trial run at the top of the hill on the back road would be fun. Their toddler brother Lorenzo “Junior” turned out to be the only willing test subject. He was lifted onto the boxcar and off they went down the hill. Unfortunately the boxcar outpaced them and raced ahead, flipping in the air with Junior following. Junior’s face was scraped all over and embedded with broken glass and pebbles. They were both petrified that their father would kill them. Marion padded herself for the beating with more of her and her sisters’ panties, to no avail. They got a whaling they’d never forget and surprisingly survived…and so did Junior. Lency, though not well-educated, had “a natural intelligence” explained Theo. Leona compares their dad to Joe Jackson in the management of his famous Jackson Five family. Theo adds, “Dad knew all T-Connection - 21

the musicians and hung out with cousin Maceo Coakley and others, like Tony Seymour, ‘Youngie’ Spence and George Symonette. His Dad arranged for his kids to participate in many talent shows where his daughters, then The Upsetters, would sing while Theo backed up on piano or keyboard. Theo attended Oakes Field School and then on to Western Senior. He took his studies seriously and was focused on advancing himself, and would take on pastimes like teaching himself to converse in other languages. His family was very religious, and few people know that Theo was a faithful and dedicated altar boy at St. Barnabas Church. Loss of a Beloved Mother With great joy, also came great pain and sadness to the Coakley family. No one knew that Ruth, his greatest fan, would never live to see her sons become great, internationally acclaimed musicians. Her untimely death was devastating to them all. Theo was 14 years old, Kirkward only 7. Marion recalls tearfully that she believes when writing songs like ‘A Mother’s Love’ and ‘Monday Morning’, Theo was solely singing to her. Ruth passed on a Sunday, New Year’s Eve. The next morning, Monday morning, was one of his darkest days. When asked who he admires most, Theo retorts “my late mother Ruth”. Not long after, Lency uprooted his family again and moved back to Andros for job opportunities (upon Theo’s suggestion because after their Mom’s death, now-deceased sister Viola had visited Andros and conveyed such happiness about the trip). Shortly after, Lency married his second wife, Janet. This marriage brought stability to the family, as well as 10 additional children. Back in Andros During their early teens, while back in Cargill Creek, Marion recalls fun times of her and Theo leaving early in the morning, walking down the beach where they’d spend most of the day. “We would walk for hours pulling small conchs from the rocks and catching fish that the tide had left behind in puddles. We were City kids and didn’t know anything about fishing, and the like. We were like fish out of water. We did it the best way we knew how. I cherish those times I spent with the most wonderful brother in the universe,” she reminisced. When Theo was 16, he was elated when he took a trip (by foot) from Cargill Creek to Fresh Creek and was introduced to the great Duke Hanna. Duke auditioned him and hired him on the spot. He played maracas and piano in Duke Hanna and The Caribbeans band at The Lighthouse Club in Fresh Creek Andros. Duke played mostly Calypso and catered to tourists. Theo was actually a part of Duke’s ‘Small Hope’ recording. Marion jokes of tourists referring to Theo as Nat King Cole. George Symonette was Theo’s hero. He left an indelible influence on Theo. Theo admired and always talks about his unique rhythm on the piano - saw nothing like it in his travels, and dedicated ‘Little More Love’ as a tribute to this well-known Bahamian pianist. Theo’s earlier influences also came from gospel and jazz artists like Mahalia Jackson, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock. Most of his tutors were classical-oriented and included American Harold Blanchard who was a jazz and classical pianist from New Jersey. Theo believed he attended either Julliard or some other reputable conservatory in the US. T-Connection - 22

Nassau & Freeport Scenes Theo moved back alone to Nassau in the summer of 1966 and played with Duke on “whatever gigs he could scrape up”. The band then moved to Freeport in January of 1967. Since August 6th, 1955 on the signing of The Hawksbill Creek Agreement between The Bahamas Government and The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Freeport had undergone massive transformations of infrastructure – new roads, highways, utilities, etc. Foreign investment companies, including BORCO (Bahamas Oil Refining Company), Syntex Pharmaceuticals, and many other industrial corporations, had planted their businesses in the Freeport soil. Freeport/Lucaya became The Bahamas’ second city. Many Nassauvians, as well as other Family Islanders and Turks Islanders, flocked to Freeport for job opportunities and a better way of life. This created a demand for foreign entertainment as well, and many world-renowned musicians were contracted to perform at Freeport’s King’s Inn (later Bahamas Princess), mainly performing in The Camelot Room. To name a few – Frank Sinatra, Jerry Butler, Lou Rawls, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Aretha Franklyn, Otis Redding, Tom Jones, The Tavares and Count Bassie (who invested in a second home in Bahamia, Freeport). This created an opportunity for the local artists as well, though initially local artists were not being hired in the lounges for the most part. However, this did not stop the Duke; he persisted and “got a gig at the Pirates Den and had shows running until 6 am” explained Theo. Theo interacted with and learned a lot from the many American artists he encountered. “Artists like Dionne Warwick, the late Gregory Hines, and the great pianist Gene Lorenzo, who became director on the Mike Douglas TV Show. Gene sent me a lot of music books after he returned to the States,” claimed Theo. This type of exposure would be invaluable to his future career. Duke’s band returned to Nassau in 1968 where they performed at The Beach Inn on Paradise Island, and then on to The Rum Keg in 1969 where Theo made his singing debut. October of 1970 was a turning point for Theo when he was contracted with the highly popular Blue Notes comprising Godfrey Deveaux, Marvin Henfield, Calvin Bain and Lawrence Rolle. This would be the test to see how the Bahamian audience would respond to his musical performances. Their next venue was in 1972 at Loew’s Hotel on Paradise Island. It was then that Theo began preparing the formation of his group the T Connection (named after his favourite movie ‘The French Connection’). He had a passion to show the world that he had something unique to offer - his intertwine of Junkanoo, Jazz, R&B and Rock. This would fascinate his Bahamian and International audiences. Theo formed his T Connection in June of 1973 when his brother Kirk was out of school. He brought Kirk from Andros and taught him how to play different instruments. The Group comprised Theo on keyboard and vocals, Kirk on bass and backup vocals, and Berkeley Van Byrd on drums and backup vocals. A few weeks later, Monty Brown came aboard on guitar. Theo was able to mold his musicians and achieve the sound he had dreamed of…the sound that took the group to the acme of their careers T-Connection - 23

with phenomenal successes and achievements, precedented by no other Bahamian musician. Their first performance as a group was at The Trade Winds Lounge in Loew’s Hotel, Paradise Island, then at The Show Club on September 15th. February 13th, 1974, the group’s debut at The Out Island Bar in The Nassau Beach Hotel marked an integral point when T Connection propelled and acquired a substantial fan base. Natives flocked to The Out Island Bar in masses to a cramped dance floor and standing room only if arrived too late. Theo was approaching the peek of his writing and on August 18th, 1975 released: 1. August 18th, 1975, an original song called ‘Peaceline’, 2. October 16th 1975 released ‘Country Road’ and ‘Daniel’. A few months later, Theo moved the group to Freeport in November 1975. Back on the Freeport Scene Theo’s phenomenal songwriting continued in 1976 during his Group’s tenure at the Kiki Rouge in Freeport (later named after the group The Connection Room). Theo reminisces “Jay Mitchell was the other act and we had a fun time there.” Family and friends recall Theo locking himself in days at a time - playing and writing, playing and writing. Like Nassau, Freeport became another phenomenal building block of the Group’s fan base. Theo recalls emptying his savings account to record a demo at Criteria Studios. The late Gary Davis gave T Connection’s demo to his Producer Corey Wade who had produced Gary’s very successful ‘Funk Machine’. Corey then produced Theo’s ‘Disco Magic’. After the overwhelming response Cory Wade signed T Connection to TK Records (a subsidiary of Dash Records). The Group was moved to Miami. U.S./Florida Scene The Group’s successes continued with phenomenal hits. Creations included: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

In 1976 ‘Disco Magic’ - was featured on an episode of The TV show ‘Good Times.’ It went top 10 on the dance chart. 1977 - ‘Do What You Wanna Do’ - went to #1 on the dance chart in 1977 and stayed there for 7 consecutive weeks, went to #46 on the pop charts, #15 R&B, and went top 10 in Britain. 1978 – ‘On Fire’ - went to #5 on dance chart , and top 15 in Britain. 1979 - ‘At Midnight/Saturday Night’ - was #2 on dance chart for many weeks, went to top 50 pop, and was featured on Soul Train and many other TV shows. 1980 - ‘Everything is Cool’- went to # 10 on the R&B chart.

U.S./East Coast Scene The Group’s repeated hit successes continued to propel them in the music industry and finally another great opportunity arose for more exposure for the Group – to sign with Capital Records in 1981. T-Connection - 24

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The T- Connection boosted the image of The Bahamas on the world stage with their success- ful musical career. They earned two hits on the Bi...