January 2016 Volume 13

How the Choir got its Bowties

Staff reporter KC Times
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When KC Chapel Choir director, Audley Davidson, floated his idea of outfitting the choir with bowties to Noel Spencer, the wheels were set in motion.

Noel did a quick design of a bow-tie and contacted a garment maker in China to produce them. The Chinese firm shipped the 50 bowties to Boris Gardiner who made sure they were available for the choir's first performance wearing bowties.

 It was a historic moment: December 20th 2015 at the Annual Kingston College Chapel Choir Christmas Concert at the UWI Chapel.  The bowties were a big hit. Everyone was talking about them.  Everyone wanted to get one.

The Chinese team of garment makers were meticulous and detailed in their production. They first required a photo of the school tie. Noel flew to Jamaica to take a photo of KC student Billie Watson's tie on the football field at Clovelly Park.

The garment firm took three days to design the bow-tie. Once the design was approved by Dr. Robert Wan chair of the choir committee and Audley Davidson director it was ready in seven days and shipped to Jamaica by FedEx in three days.

There was an anxious moment when it was learned the ties left Shanghai three days late. And the Fedex tracking number provided was not showing up on the company's tracker. This had Noel frantically trying to contact the manufacturer in China, 11 time zones away. The tracking number would eventually show up as he watched it move from Shanghai to Minneapolis, to Miami and finally Kingston.

Boris Gardiner and his wife Andrea Mendes-Gardiner would spend three hours waiting at customs for someone to bring the Bowties for clearance. Their patience was rewarded and the bowties made it to the concert where they were a surprise hit.

KCOB Patrick Johnson had high praise for Noel Spencer’s latest project to move the college forward. He said lauded him for “the marvels that he has accomplished and continues to accomplish on behalf of our distinguished alma mater that has so great and essential a role to play in the social and political fortunes of a Jamaica so much under siege, socially and politically in so many ways.”

The KC bowties were so warmly received that immediately old boys were asking how they can acquire one. The idea of a fundraiser selling bowties to old boys already been floated so stay tuned.

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