History and dancing, science and design, folktale and glitter.
These unlikely combinations will make for a spectacular show at the Sunshine Snacks Junior Kadooment’s kaleidoscope of colour and movement when it takes place at National Botanical Gardens on Saturday.
For students of nine primary schools and one secondary school, the academic year may have ended but learning certainly has not. The primary schools, Arthur Smith, George Lamming, Elliot Belgrave, Roland Edwards, Eagle Hall, Selah, Hindsbury, Ellerton and Wesley Hall will join Springer Memorial Secondary for the masquerading spectacle starting at 9 a.m.
Participants in the Sunshine Snacks Junior Kadooment will unveil all they learnt after months of preparation in training and research facilitated by the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Universal Cereal SigniaGlobe Financial Junior Costume Programme. The Kiddies segment of the national parade will match the Grand Kadooment display of Barbadian history and cultural practices as the Crop Over Festival swings into full gear.
Since 2002, the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training has endorsed the NCF programme which is geared towards attracting schools in the preservation of the world-renowned festival and developing talents at all levels.
Chief Cultural Officer of the NCF Andrea Wells noted: “This is how you guarantee the continuance of strong traditions – by training and investing in the youth.”
The programme is aimed at teaching students, parents and teachers the elements of costume design and production by assigning a local designer to each registered school. Through the collaborative effort between the participants and the artisan, cultural and historical themes were conceptualised and ultimately translated into a masquerade presentation.
Participants learned the techniques of wire-bending, colour coordination, dance, costume mechanics and a plethora of other skills associated with the masquerade. This year, these skills will be showcased through the themes of 160 years of the Barbados Landship, climate change, a rich cultural heritage and inclusion for all abilities. The schools’ programme also promotes local artisans and their craft and showcases alternative careers to mainstream jobs.
“The kids who are jumping in the school bands aren’t just jumping and dancing and having fun. They have been through a process of growth and learning, so the performance is a culmination of the process.
“This growth and learning will enhance their skills. They will learn about design, costume construction and visual arts skills. They will also learn about the history and culture of their country which would make them more well-rounded citizens. So, even if every child does not become a designer or artist, they have an appreciation for art, design, history and culture,” Wells stated.
This year, there are a record-high 28 bands registered for the parade, which is the first since the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted.
Remarkably, this number signifies 100 per cent participation from the 11 schools which joined the junior costume programme, and this is also a first for the NCF.
Stacia Bryan, NCF Festival and Event Planner said that not only is this a success for the foundation, it also aids in developing promising futures for the youth.
“What I like about the schools’ programme is that we try to transfer skills. It gives you the opportunity to see where you can earn a living from your creative skill and talent… going into schools and having transferable knowledge and showing them what it is that’s possible,” she explained.
Bryan also highlighted how the programme takes into account the much-overlooked preparation that goes into the Crop Over festival.
“A lot of the time performing arts take precedence like singing and dance and theatre, but they don’t think about the intricacies of masquerade which involves – sketching, colour coordinating… very creative in terms of design and use of material,” she explained.
She is promising that the event will showcase the work of some of the country’s best talent.
“We pulled a cadre of some of the best designers who were willing and able, in order to give the schools the best of the skill set available on the island,” Bryan added, noting that there should be fierce competition for top prizes such as Best School Band.
On June 10th, Barbadians got a preview of what is to come during the launch of the Sunshine Snacks Kadooment Day. Schoolchildren paraded around the National Botanical Gardens displaying colourful costumes, with some performing a traditional Landship dance.
The NCF’s goal is to see an expansion of the programme to all schools, including the 68 Government primary schools and 21 secondary schools. (PR)