Guyanese and Caribbean musician and music educator, Derry Etkins, died Saturday at the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was recovering from a minor surgery, close associates said.
Etkins, said to be in his mid-60s, worked several years in Barbados and the British Virgin Islands.
At the time of his death, he was a Music Lecturer at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPC) and he also served as a consultant at the Allied Arts Unit of the Ministry of Education.
Guyanese musicians, Charmaine Blackman and Bonny Alves, who worked closely with Etkins, said they received the sad news from fellow musician, Birchmore Simon. She said that Etkins passing was a great loss to the music industry and education sector. “This a huge blow, I would think, to Guyana’s music and those educators of music. We have very few,” an emotional Blackman told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.
Alves, who is Blackman’s husband, said “this is a sad day for Guyana especially the music fraternity. “First and foremost, Derry was a fine human being- very humble, very mannerly, very polite, very gentle. He was the kind of guy you no problem being near to, being around,” he said.
Alves specifically credited Etkins for his role in music education. “With all the talent that he had, he was one of the few genuine music educators that we have,” he said.
Etkins only recently produced a Public Service video urging people to take precautions against the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Etkins, who worked very closely with under-privileged youth in Guyana, was hailed as successful musician because of his dedicated work.