Where there is a will, there is always a way, and with determination and drive comes success. The Saint Lucia Calypso Association brought truth to that as they performed a last minute rescue act in hosting the Junior Calypso Competition for 2014. The planning had taken its course; the students went through their auditions and were rearing to go. Everything seemed to be perfect, when the Ministry of Education pulled the plug on the event at the last minute. Cue David Jordan, President of the Saint Lucia Calypso Association (2009) and his committee, who made the event a reality.
Despite the inconvenience, the show which was held Friday June 6 was a success. Held at the Mindoo Phillip Park at Marchand, contestants from ten primary and seven secondary schools performed tunes based on various social issues, with supporting skits and dramatizations. This, to a reasonable crowd comprising parents, teachers, students and other supporters.
The judges had some work on their hands as the young calypsonians gave a good account of themselves, displaying confidence, poise and craftsmanship. In the end the results were as follows. In the primary category, in third position was Ti Chantwelle of the Ave Maria Girls Primary, in second place was the Mighty Sizzler of RC Boys Primary, and the prince of junior calypso was none other than Mighty J from Gros Islet Primary. In the secondary category, the second runner up went to Funda of the Vide Boutielle Secondary, first runner up was Stinger of the Saint Mary’s College, and the Junior Calypso Monarch, successfully defending his title, was Lil Nick of the Corinth Secondary School.
At the conclusion of the event, we spoke to David Jordan about bringing the show to fruition.
STAR: How difficult was it for the association to pull off this event?
DJ: It was stressful, because as you know this [event] was not our initiative. As soon as the decision was made by the ministry we began consultations and we were able to get everything put together within two days. It was difficult in obtaining sponsorship but it was an all-round team effort.
STAR: What exactly was the reason for the ministry’s cancellation of the event?
DJ: I think the substantive thing here as indicated previously, was that the ministry was not able to generate the level of resources to pursue the show. Obviously there were challenges in few of government’s own cuts. The show is coming at a time when they are in fact looking at new budgetary arrangements.
STAR: How much of a factor did the ministry’s decision play on the overall outcome of the event?
DJ: Well put it this way. There was a momentum that was generated as a result of the planning and preparation but then the abrupt end really made a lot of people distraught and it caused a lull. I think we need to sit down and review the event, in the context of making it truly a national event.
I must say hats off to Jason “Bachelor” Joseph of CAMDU, a former monarch himself, who graduated from school calypso and is now making a contribution 15 years after as a music specialist in the school system.
STAR: How has this issue affected junior calypso and what do you think is the way forward?
DJ: In terms of what we have done, we’re encouraging the ministry to pursue the event. I think that is the appropriate thing, and with our intervention we made a tremendous mark. Having intervened and put on the show, I think we will go back to the drawing board and examine the strong and weak points, with a view that we can refine whatever plans that we have had and embark on the path to enable us to put on an even better show.
STAR: What are your overall comments on the event?
DJ: I think it was a wonderful team effort. The performances by both the primary and secondary school students were of a high standard. We must commend the technical directors for the level of craftsmanship and music exhibited and we saw natural talent in some of the youngsters. There were excellent performances and the mere fact that the results were so close shows the level of competition that has been exhibited among the competitors, which is good for the future of junior calypso.
(Look out for a one-on-one with Lil Nick in next Wednesday’s HYPE in the St Lucia STAR Newspaper.)