Over the years the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), through the platform of its Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch programme in association with IGM Stage Lighting, has sought to engage with the youth demonstrating an appreciation for the calypso art form, highlighting their involvement in all aspects of the entertainment arena.
Recognising that youth play an essential role in bridging the gap between our cultural aspirations now and in the future, and in keeping with the objectives of the programme to significantly contribute to their personal and professional development, the Foundation has been continually providing opportunities to broaden their skills by way of mentorship programmes for junior emcees, facilitating workshop for their further improvement or by showcasing the progress of past participants as they continue to navigate their careers in the industry.
Last Saturday, June 16 during the first Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch tent and with the bank’s support, the NCF proudly introduced its ‘Junior Monarch Band Apprenticeship Programme’ expanding the existing developmental initiatives and cementing the event as a truly all-encompassing avenue for young Barbadians in the arts to gain exposure on a national stage.
The band comprising of nine musicians from the Barbados Community College Music Programme, made their first cameo appearance backing some of the semi-finalists.
Event Producer, Ms. Karen Pestaina noted that in 2016, a pilot programme was launched with five students from Parkinson School and the Alexandra School who appeared with the acclaimed Junior Monarch band during the Tents. The pilot, which was as a success and was welcomed by the bandsmen, paved the way for the full apprenticeship programme in place this season.
She added that this new programme also allowed for young musicians to join the Junior Monarch Band behind the scenes at the rehearsals, sharpening their skills in preparation for each stage of the competition.
The ideal, to borrow from other examples in the region, would be to set the stage for an environment where juniors provide sound, stage management, backing band, lighting and other technical support, for at least some aspects of the programme.
Making their first appearance were Glen Reece, Trombonist; Javon Hope-Greene, Trumpeter; Mario Thomas, Tenor-Saxophonist, Zukeli Inniss, Tenor/Alto-Saxophonist; Aliya Trotman, Alto-Saxophonist; Joshua Holder, Trombonist/ Percussionist; Adrian Greaves, Trumpeter; Raheem Cottle, Drummer/ Percussionist; and Jazz Gittens, Keyboardist and former Junior Calypso Monarch.
They will make their second appearance at Tent 2 slated for Sunday, June 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Major Noot Hall, Combermere School.