Cultural Ambassadors Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire and soca queen Alison Hinds-Walcott along with reigning calypso monarch William Classic Waithe, received special recognition on Friday.
As part of their celebrations of Barbados’ 53rd anniversary of Independence, students and teachers of the Graydon Sealy Secondary School gave the three local icons a special salute.
Under the theme, Honouring Icons of Excellence, the three popular Bajan artistes took in a parade by the #14 Cadet Detachment and the drum corps on the school’s Paddock Road, St Michael compound.
During the fanfare a range of music was performed by the cadets including Mighty Gabby’s Emmerton, Natahlee and Shontelle’s Colours, the Barbados Folk Singers’ Pack She Back to She Ma, See Muh Lil Brown Girl, Leadpipe and Saddis Ah Feeling ah Feeling, and Biggie Irie’s Nah Going Home.
Following that segment, some of the students, representing their various houses performed a selection of music from each of the artists and one other song of their choice, as they took part in a competition, which was also witnessed by the honourees.
Lieutenant Commander John Walcott, Head of the Arts Department at the school, said while Hinds-Walcott and Waithe were past students of the learning institution, Wiltshire was added to the list this year because of his contribution to the island’s cultural landscape.
Walcott said the annual celebration, which is in its third year, is designed mainly to encourage the children to celebrate their nation and learn about some local traditions and help to keep them alive.
“Students can see that they can aspire to great things and we also get to educate them about our culture because folk music is a dying art,” said Walcott, recalling that decades ago there were a number of folk groups.
“It is a dying art but what we have done uniquely is to use soca music and present it in a kind of folk idiom so we are experimenting with that. So the children get to learn about what has taken place before and at the same time they are having some fun as we celebrate Barbados,” he explained.
Other artists were expected to visit the location throughout the day and join in the celebrations.
Last year tribute was paid to Emile Straker and the Merrymen, and the first year tribute was paid to Anthony Mighty Gabby Carter.
“What we have done traditionally is that we have a folk competition among the year groups, this year we are doing it with the houses and what we do is we select some of their songs and the children to perform them and have a competition and we pay tribute to those icons,” added Walcott.
He said the competition also served as an avenue to help students build self-esteem, adding that it would do a lot for pupils who preferred the performing arts to academics.
“It can build you in all kinds of ways. The theme of our school is ‘to promote all aspects of our growth’. And that is what we are trying to do outside of English, Mathematics and Science. We are looking to develop the cultural side as well,” he said. (MM)
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