It is with the deepest sadness that we mark the passing of our friend and drumming colleague Angie Gerrity, who lost a long fight with cancer in the early hours of this morning.
Angie had been a vibrant member of MaSamba for many years, and during that time had filled many formal roles, as well as a few informal ones. Angie was first and foremost a member of the band. Now, I know that Ang wouldn’t take issue with me for saying that she was not the best percussionist in the world, but she worked hard at learning the things she could do, and was appreciative and accepting of the things she couldn’t. It didn’t stop her from making a vital contribution to the many gigs and rehearsals she attended.
Angie understood that MaSamba is like a big (dysfunctional) family, and her generosity of spirit, mischievous sense of humour and simple common sense were all part of the glue that bound the band together through good times and bad. Angie was totally accepting of the many different perspectives and personalities within the group, but also had the strength of character to make her opinions known in a quiet, non-aggressive way – views that were always well thought out and informed by an innate wisdom.
It was this wisdom that Angie brought to our Board of Directors, where she not only articulated the opinions of the band membership and the youth band, but was incredibly supportive of MaSamba’s paid and voluntary workers, and never forming any argument from a place of negativity. As well as serving on the Board, Angie served as Costume Officer during some of our most ambitious carnival pageants, and biggest ever shows. Many’s a band member will remember getting ‘the eye’ if their costumes was trailing in the mud!
When Angie was diagnosed with cancer, she was realistic about it, but made sure that anything she could get away with doing, would be done. Some people have what they call a ‘bucket list’, but Angie re-named it the ‘fuck it’ list, as in ‘Fuck It, I might as well do it!’ Even as her illness progressed, she was honest about it, but never dramatised it either, and showed a stoicism that would put most of us to shame!
At the ‘Jiggle Jam’ gig we organised for Angie, we got to see the huge circle of friends and family she had, and it was amazing to see her finding the energy to visit every table and chat knowledgeably about so many topics like a seasoned international diplomat – she was a one-woman Faceboook! Also at the ‘Jiggle Jam’ we could see how proud Angie was of her two amazing children, Kim and Dean. Some say we live on through our children, and Kim and Dean show all the best characteristics of their mother and are successful at their chosen careers.
As I sit here, I can almost hear Angie saying ‘get on with it’, as she was not a vain person in any way. She will be sorely missed by all of us in MaSamba as a wise council, a great organiser, a witty raconteur and yes, a drummer!