Vernon Euclid Andrews

1939 -

Vernon Andrews, choral conductor, pianist and singer, taught music and served as an administrator for over fifty years. His work as choir director at Caribbean Union College, now University of the Southern Caribbean, gained nationwide recognition for the school in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

Vernon was born in St. Joseph, Trinidad, one of two children born to Simeon Centeno and Winifred Beryl Andrews. His father worked in the public service of Trinidad & Tobago as a telegraph operator, and his mother was a schoolteacher and Bible worker. They both had strong musical interests, evidenced by their membership in the church choir. At age ten, Vernon started piano lessons with his mother. During his primary and secondary school years he continued taking music lessons, inspired and motivated by his study with Mrs. Frances Burke-Archibold.

In 1964 Andrews obtained a Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (LRSM), with an emphasis in School Music. He then enrolled at Andrews University, where he studied piano with Hans-Jørgen Holman and completed a B.S. degree in music in 1966. The following year he completed an M.A. in voice as a student of Gerald Ferguson.

Upon returning to Caribbean Union College in 1967, he served as chair of the music program and taught voice, piano, and theory and directed the choir. Since the school was only a junior college at that time and could not award a degree in music, students were prepared for the examinations of the Royal Schools of Music in England. During this time, Rosie Ward also taught with Vernon in the music department.

In 1974 the CUC select choral ensemble under his direction competed in the national biennial music festival run by the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival Association, a major musical event in the islands. The choir won the Ashdown Cup, the highest award in the religious music class. This recognition put CUC on the musical map.

With the college choir, Vernon produced two successful LP records, Echoes from the Valley, volumes one and two. From 1991 to 2002, he conducted the Caribbean Chamber Singers, touring with them throughout the Caribbean islands and in Puerto Rico and Panama.

Three years after returning to Trinidad from AU, he married Phyllis Loyola Moore in June 1970. They subsequently attended Andrews University, where she completed a B.S. degree in 1977. Phyllis was awarded an M.A.T. and Vernon an Ed.D. in 1978. The Andrewses have four children, Vernetta, Vaughn, Veldon, and Verleyne - Verleyne having completed a degree in violin.

Upon their return to the College, Vernon chaired the education department, served as dean of students, and then as president from 1983 to 1990. In 1990, he moved to the Caribbean Union Conference, where he served as departmental director, field secretary, executive secretary, and finally, as vice president. He retired in February 2009, having served in denominational service for 50 years. He continues to conduct church music seminars and choral workshops and is also an evaluator with the Accreditation Council of Trinidad & Tobago.


Source: Information provided by Vernon Andrews, May 2009.