Many Choiseulians watching NTN broadcast the live Schools’ Calypso Competition yesterday afternoon would have recalled the 1990’s when the Roblot Combined School hosted numerous in-house calypso shows. These shows were well received by the general public who looked forward every year for the show. These were the days when the school Principal Mrs. Lucy Nicholas was interested in the overall development of the child. These were the days when the other primary schools had music teachers and did not see it fit to make music an integral part of the curriculum. These were the days when music was regarded as just an en passant subject by the other primary school s in the district. But this was not with the visionary Principal of the Roblot Combined School. She was very much into music and felt that with music the students would perform even better academically. This proved to be right as at one time during these years her school passed the Common Entrance National School Mean. Bravo!
Of course, no one had to tell you that she had the unwavering support of your humble servant as well as other members of her staff. Teachers like Dave, Paulette, Kieth and I were the song writers, not to forget the infamous “Corcorlock Socks” which was written by Lucy herself. Most of the singers came for grade five and six: Kent, Webster, Dane and Dave, Nolan, Anicia, Teddy, and Emylyn are just few of our large repertoire.
Patrons will no doubt remember songs like “All the committee does do”, ‘Fire Fire”, “Coco Makak”, Drinking and driving”, Mr. Wasa" and “Mr. Politician.” Teddy, “Small boy” rendition of “Election time” was a smasher which gained him 3rd place in the National School’s Calypso Competition in 1997.The Roblot school calypso died when Lucy retired and even more so when I retired in 2000.
It must have been painfully embarrassing to the educators, especially the principals (both from the primary and secondary schools) to have noticed not one school from the constituency was represented at the 2012 National Schools Calypso Competition . Could it have also been embarrassing for our Rep. who is the Minister for Creative Arts to have been among his compatriots and asked by them “Where were your schools?” , did not see any of them perform?’ He could have very well replied, “Dem jokers en ready yet.” Quite rightly so.
Our present day Choiseul school principals take no interest in extra curricula activities for our children. Yet they are unable to have our children perform at a high level academically. The results among our boys is distressing no to mention the overall performance of their school. (Thank God that universal education is here) This is where music comes in. The haphazard music program that is being implemented presently is a waste of time. Principals have to give more autonomy to the specialised music teachers at the schools. This is the way to go
The other point that needs mentioning here is the lack of involvement of retirees in school programs. The present crop of principals thinks they know it all and refuse to involve or ask for advice from the retired principals. The current crop of principals continues to short change our children. They continue to stifle the creative potential of our kids with their tight-assed method of administration.
Included in afternoon’s performances were the following secondary schools: Babonneau Secondary, Sir Ira Simmons, Ciceron Secondary, Vieux Fort Technical, Vieux Fort Campus A, Corinth Secondary, George Charles Secondary, Gros Islet Secondary and Clendon Mason Secondary.
In last evening’s schools’ calypso competition ( the primary schools’ round) the standard was below average. Many of singers sang out of key which to my music mind is unacceptable at this level. Many of the keys were too flat. The RC boys took the title with a song “War” by Stingers. At the secondary schools’ round I heard quite a few interesting performances.” Legal Eyes” by Khendra of the babonneau secondary was fantastic, so was “Stop the violence’ by Embert of Corinth secondary. The latter walked away with the crown.
Analysing the competition, I am sure that we have in our district persons that can give a good account of themselves at such a show. I am sure that we have musicians as well as song writer that can produce our children with lyrics. But no these principals and their lack of music knowlwdge does not see it fit to step up to the plate for our children. One day they will learn.
Finally, one would hope that with our Rep as the Minister responsible for Creative arts and the educators in the Constituency will take advantage of this bring in the art form into the schools, have preliminaries and have their school represented at next year's Junior calypso competition. In the meantime they, the principals and music teachers should get down to work now. Support from the Rep is a must.
The pic shows Cassie Emmanuel who performed "Dame and Knight". She represented the Ciceron Secondary School..