More variety needed

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley accepts the cheque from Dacosta Manning’s Grace Chambers, while Maylene Brown, Curtis Gibbons and BS&T’s Jennifer Branch-Maloney look on.

There is a need for more variety in the Community Independence Celebrations Parish Talents shows says Public Relations Officer of Barbados Shipping and Trading, Jennifer Branch-Maloney.

She was this morning presenting a sponsorship cheque worth $16,000 to the Community Independence Secretariat on behalf of BS&T, Dacosta Mannings and Super Centre.

Branch-Maloney said that while the companies had been sponsoring the event since 2004, and while they remained committed to supporting the programme they believed there was a need for diversity rather than the dominance of one expression.

Speaking at the Ministry of Family and Youth’s offices in Haggatt Hall, St. Michael, she added that they were heartened at the level of raw talent which came out of the programme. Additionally, she said she believed that it held tremendous promise in discovering the aspiring performing artists in communities.

“Without initiatives such as these much of this would remain untapped however, while the Parish Talent shows offer exciting promise for our communities, in terms of unearthing talent, there are still one or two areas which we can be looked at to ensure its continued growth. For instance, much of the expression at these events is through song but we think that more effort could be made to ensure that there is greater diversity of talent beyond the singing aspect; thus ensuring that there is an equal mix of drama, music, dancing, poetry and song at these shows.

“Moreover, we note that need for a greater injection of cultural flair in these presentations. Participants need to understand that taking a Rihanna song and singing it in their finest voice does not represent cultural expression,” she said.

Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, noted that the Secretariat had as well, been looking at other avenues in which they could encourage participants to focus on more diverse ways to display their Barbadian culture. One such measure they intended to implement from next year was awarding a special prize as an incentive for the participants to conceptualise varied presentations.

Marketing and Customer service manager at Dacosta Manning, Grace Chambers, also agreed that she would like to see more diversity. Furthermore she said, one of their ultimate goals with the Parish Talent was to see it move from where it is to a national level.

She told Barbados TODAY that with further development in the different arts they would consider offering a scholarship to participants.

“Those who would have won here at the parish talent competition or coming out of the Spirit of the Nation show I want that there be a scholarship opportunity provided; whether it is being attached to the Barbados Dance Theatre, being attached to a drama school, they could further develop themselves and see it as an opportunity for a career. Most people who would get involved at this age, in talent, only enter this thing as something to do but not necessarily seeing it as something to pursue.

“On Saturday night we went and they really blew us away because of the level of improvement and it shows the level of work that went in by the Secretariat to get persons up to the level that we saw. We’ve had discussions with them giving them our input and it was really encouraging to see it on Saturday, so we are just looking forward to this Saturday. In terms of it, (scholarship) we would look at it because we like the community nature of this segment of the Independence show,” she said.

The Parish Talent show continues this Saturday at the Coleridge & Parry School in St. Peter for the Northern Zone and concludes on September 29 with the Southern Zone talent show to be held at the Princess Margaret Secondary School in Six Roads, St. Philip. (KC)

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