Renowned musician and artist, Bob Reneau, passes away
A legend in Belizean arts also passed away on Wednesday in Chicago. Bob Reneau was truly the definition of an artist; he was a talented singer, dancer, painter, playwright and producer, composer and to many, he was a teacher. Before he moved away, his students and other Belizeans in the arts had the privilege of collaborating with him on productions such as “The Holy City”, “It’s a Good Day”, and “Sons of Honduras”. Earlier in his career, he was known for performances of “Breggin Tuba”, “Wedding Bells for Kettiebell” and he also composed songs to greet visiting royalty. His works earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Belize Arts Council in November 1999 and we revisit that story tonight.
Jacqueline Woods, Reporter [File: November, 1999]
The Bliss Institute was packed to capacity as Belizeans and fans of Robert “Bob” Reneau came out to pay tribute to this musician, singer, playwright, producer, artist, composer and choreographer. Reneau resides in Chicago in the United States and had only arrived in Belize earlier that day to receive the outstanding artist award. During the ceremony a portrait of the artist was unveiled and the Belize National Dance Company presented Budd Bank Wedding… the dance. Seventy-nine year old Reneau, who is recovering from two major strokes, had his daughter Barbara Reneau delivered the acceptance speech.
Barbara Reneau, Daughter
“I can assure you that this event will be a crowning glory in his life. We are proud to know that his labors were not in vain having used his gift from God to serve his country Belize and other countries. May his life be a shining light that others may continue to follow and may this event further cement what he has achieved.”
Beverly Smith Lopez, Director of the Belize Arts Council said they decided to move up the date of the award because of Reneau’s illness. Smith Lopez says there is no other Belizean artist who is more deserving of the award.
Beverly Smith Lopez
Beverly Smith Lopez, Director, Belize Arts Council
“So we decided to do the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Bob Reneau whom we think had really covered so many areas of the arts and cultural development of this country. So we jumped the Producer’s Award and brought it to the Lifetime Achievement Award and decided that Mr. Bob is the fittest person to give in that we wanted to give him when he was still alive.”
Reneau told News Five he is grateful for the support he has received and his wish is to see more Belizeans interested in the arts.
“I just love them; I love the Belize people and I love them. But you know I believe that if they try to do much better…”
“And carry on with the arts?”
“Yes, that is important, yes.”
The award was the fifth to be given by the Belize Arts Council.
Reneau celebrated his ninety-second birthday just two weeks ago. He is survived by his wife, Rose Marie and eight children; four sons and four daughters. The National Institute of Culture and History issued a release today, expressing sympathy to Reneau’s family and friends.