The Junior Calypso Monarch competition is through the schools, as the contest undergoes major restructuring for Crop Over.
For the first time, the competition will be opened to all public, private, primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions.
The competing schools have been divided into four zones. The North zone features St Lucy, St Peter, and St Andrew; West zone is St James, St Thomas; St Michael East zone includes St Joseph, St John, and St Philip; and the parishes in the Southern zone are Christ Church and St George.
Another major change is the introduction of three age categories: 6-10, 11-14 and 15-18.
Contestants will be competing for Best Sweet Soca, Best Bashment Soca, Best Power Soca, and Best Junior Monarch Road March. The winning primary school will receive a multi-purpose activity room and the top secondary school will be awarded an outfitted music lab.
Chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Carol Roberts-Reifer, revealed that the revamped competition which encourages students to participate as a team provided the stimulus needed to get the youth involved in the arts and interested in participating in school activities.
Roberts-Reifer said: “I thought the junior calypso monarch competition in partnership with the schools, not just the NCF, would be a great way to give those children who like music and even theatre and the arts, in general, another outlet while they are at school but just importantly the adults an opportunity to hear what is going on their heads.
“The Junior Calypso Monarch Competition is built on a very simple premise, there are children all across this country in all kinds of age groups who are hearing lyrics in their head who are already creating beats, who are already singing songs and most importantly they have something to say.”
The songs produced and written by the Junior Monarch contestants will be featured in the Junior Kadooment soundtrack.
The competition will also include a developmental programme whereby veteran calypsonians and musicians visit their alma maters and help participants through the preliminary, semifinals and finals stage.
Prospective contestants are to be auditioned. The tryouts are to be held on May 25 and May 26 at the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre. Five participants per category, per school, are eligible to advance to the preliminary stage. Participants are asked to sing 90 secs of a calypso song, acapella or with a track.
Only 12 contestants will advance to semifinal stage with six contestants advancing to the finals in each age category.
The finals for the Junior Calypso Monarch, sponsored by Scotiabank, will be held on July 20 at the Wildey Gymnasium.