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School Calypso Grows Stronger

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Contact: Richmond Felix

October 29, 1998 - A prize giving ceremony was held this week at the Ministry of Education, to award the winners of the National Schools’ Calypso Monarch Competition. Whilst the ceremony was long over due, it was quite significant in that it comes at the commencement of activities for the 1999 National School Calypso Competition.

Those receiving prizes for this year’s competition had the choice of a musical instrument or a scholarship from the St. Lucia School of Music. The awards were carefully selected so as to cultivate the calypso art form in the schools. Speaking at Wednesday’s ceremony, Acting Chief Education Officer Gaspard Charlemagne said "We provide these scholarships for students to develop their musical talents at the School of Music. This ceremony marks the beginning of a project to distribute more instruments to the schools and also to recognize students efforts in a bigger and more attractive way, so that they will find it worth their while to participate in calypso singing."

Receiving prizes were Mortessa Joseph and N’deaver Cadasse, the 1998 Secondary and Primary School Calypso Monarchs respectively, and Isaac Louisy the 1997 Monarch who was finally able to claim his prize. This year a record number of school (13 primary and 13 secondary) participated in the show. It has now become necessary to separate the primary school competition from the secondary school competition, so that organizers can manage the competitions more effectively.

The upcoming competition promises to be quite spectacular. One of the avenues which the Ministry of Education is pursuing in order to uplift the standard of school calypso, is to secure the assistance of the National Calypso Association in its workshops. There is also a plan to ensure preservation of the young artist’s work.

Coordinator of the Schools Calypso Competition , Anthony Alcide said, "During the calypso period the radio and television stations, do air the work of the students. But shortly after that everything comes to an abrupt end. We never hear anything regarding the songs or the work that the students were able to produce." Mr. Alcide revealed that it is his intention to explore the possibility of producing a CD of the children’s work.

Although Carnival celebrations are scheduled for July next year. The National Schools Calypso Monarch competition will be held in the month of February. It is hoped that the event will complement activities being held to celebrate St. Lucia’s 20th Anniversary of independence.


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