Amazing Amber!

stellar calypso show by parkinson memorial students

by Latoya Burnham

The Parkinson Memorial Secondary put on a stellar calypso show last Friday night, which saw the crowning of the school’s first monarch in Amber Barrow.

The 14-year-old singer under the stage name Amber Orano, was the second youngest in the competition of students, all of whom entered the preliminaries of the Junior Monarch competition. At the end of the night, Amber Orano’s comfortable lead of 426 points to her nearest rival’s 369, told the tale of a very convincing performance by the young woman whose voice is more known in reggae arenas than calypso, and left the question wide open as to how she could possibly not have made the semifinals of the island’s Junior calypso competition.

The last of the night’s performers, Amber Orano appeared on stage in a childish dress, child-like plaits and doll in arms as she belted out I Am A Child, a song written by Kevin Sluggy Dan Watson and arranged by Randy Eastmond.

On the night her vocals were strong, diction clear, rendition commendable and presentation neither over the top nor underdone, as she skipped around on stage with doll in the crook of her arm as she sang about the fact that the words of children are seldom heard.

Second place went to Junior Monarch semifinalist T’kayla Lil T Clarke, with her powerful rendition of Too Big Fuh Yuh Shoes, written by John King and Eastmond and arranged by Eastmond, who was also the main producer of the show.

Lil T’s voice has grown over her years in the Junior Monarch and there was a confidence to her performance that continues to show maturity and comfort with the stage.

Third and fourth places went to Kadeem Kadeem Mayers and Kayla Kayla Bee Thorpe, with 355 and 353 points respectively. Kadeem’s song De Drain, again another King and Eastmond collaboration, was well performed by the lad who came out dressed as a plumber, singing about the morals and other values that are simply slipping down and clogging up the drain. His antics were entertaining, as were Kayla Bee’s, who was first out the gates on competition night and performed the heck out of her song Our Disease, even after she missed about two lines in her second verse. When she remembered the lyrics and bounced back, there was no evidence of misfortune on her face as she continued performing as if the malady did not occur – a most commendable act.

Despite these four top performers and the fact that Amber Orano would have walked away with old scholar’s Edwin Yearwood’s Challenge Trophy, strong words of congratulations must go out to the other contestants: Samantha Sammy Sosa Romain — Sweet Calypso; Ramona Nikola Anomar Clarke — Pimpalin; Rickelle Angel Edwards — Selfish Mentality; Xavier Mighty Xaiver Bowen — Peeping Out; and Destiny Dessie Clinton — Too Young.

Each of the performers had their strengths on the night as they came out to show what the school could do.

But beyond the competition, the before and after show cannot not be mentioned. The Pinelands Creative Workshop were ever energetic as they performed two pieces on the night, but the performances that brought the house down were the calypso session with Bumba singing his 1987 hit, They Want to Know; Gabby with Hit It and Dr. Cassandra in his elemental best; and Red Plastic Bag performing Once Upon A Wine and Something’s Happenin’.

By the time the calypsonians were done with the stage, the audience had had a bellyful of entertainment in the Parkinson School Hall compliments of the production team comprising Eastmond, Tiffany Grimes, Kellie Arthur, Janelle Williams, Laticlea White, Kamla Knight, Philip Clarke and Patricia Doyle. The backing band on the night, who also donated their time was a mixture of staff, students and musicians from Crop-Over’s various competition bands.

In short, it was a production of excellence, chaired by MC Sheldon Hope.

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