It was a master blend of talent last Sunday night when the‘crème de la crème’ of the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) 2017 hit the stage for the Performing Arts Gala at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.
Patrons were treated to some of their favorite performances from throughout the season, while first-time viewers were charmed by the delightful and entertaining acts that were showcased throughout the four-hour show.
The dance acts for the night were compelling and spell blinding, leaving those packed in the gymnasium in awe. The Dance Collective delivered one of those phenomenal performances that grabbed the Semi Professional Gold Award, Founder’s Award and Cynthia Wilson Award for their performance of Sound of Silence.
The Hillaby Nazarene Dance Ministry also pleased the audience with their colourful and zesty presentation of Outpouring of Praise which gained them the People’s Choice Award for Dance as well as a silver medal for a non-professional group. Meanwhile, Praise Academy earned a silver medal and the Barbados Gospel Fest Award for their beautiful and jubilant performance of My World Needs You.
The Gemini Project entertained the audience with Dis-Abled, using the performance to deliver an impactful and thought provoking message that disability does not define a person. They received a silver medal as well as a special award for outstanding participation by a disabled group.
The little ones of Pearls Dance Academy adorably won the hearts of the crowd, with Down Under which told of the dangers of littering in the sea. The group earned the Barbados National Trust Award and an Incentive Award for Most Promising Presentation.
An irate pothole from Brighton, St George had the audience in stitches, as it demanded the rights of A Loyal Citizen. Dramatist Brandon Byer-Maloney triggered echos of laughter throughout the venue with his hilarious ‘no holes barred’ delivery of the woes of a pothole which was seen as a societal nuisance. The primary school student earned a junior silver award and the Alfred Pragnell Award for his stellar performance.
Spoken word artist and bronze medal awardee, Cyndi Marshall, received hearty applause and cheers for her hard hitting, thought provoking delivery of To Those Who Complain About Brain Drain. Giving her take on the issue as a millennial, Marshall hit home when she stressed that the sink could only be drained if someone pulled the plug.
Tackling the troubling issue of cyberbullying in schools, the Alexandra School showcased the negative effects and a positive way these issues could be resolved via their performance of Leh We Tek A Picture.
The eight musical acts to take the stage were mesmerizing and unforgettable.
The Marlon Legall Project and its sub-unit Elite Vox once again gave the audience a riveting and entrancing performance of Riots and Rebellion and Momma respectively, aptly receiving the Jackie Opel Award and a Special Incentive Award for the Best Musical Arrangement.
Big voices came in small packages from the students of the George Lamming Primary School who received a bronze medal for their rendition of the classic How Many More by John King. Also claiming a bronze medal and the Incentive Award for Most Promising Secondary School, was the Alleyne School who captivated the crowd with their angelic voices during Total Praise.
Vocalist Drayann Cadogan-Regan won a bronze medal and an incentive award for the Most Promising Newcomer with her sultry rendition of Rise Up. Local cultural group, the Israel Lovell Foundation, brought energy and excitement to the opening of the gala with their adrenalized performance of Rhythmic Force which earned them a bronze medal.
CS Kloud 9 hit the right notes as they closed the show with the jazzy and relaxing Mr Smooth and Master Blaster.
The Governor-General’s Awards of Excellence were presented during the gala by Acting Governor General Sir Philip Greaves. The awardees were Dave and Marcia Weekes of Step by Step Productions for film and video with the film Barrow Freedom Fighter, first time entrant Melissia Batson of JEM’s Barbados for the culinary arts sector with her creation of a Mount Gay infused chocolate and writer Linda Deane for the literary arts – essay category with Phyllis, Dexter, Freddy and Wow.