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Aug 17, 1999

Grace Primary to festival in Mexico

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For their first international performance, Grace Primary School’s steel band “Pantastick” has chosen their stage… at the Latin American Cultural Festival in Mexico. Despite the fact that Belize has never been represented by an all children delegation, the Belize Arts Council is confident that the youngsters will put on top rate performances. Janelle Chanona caught up with the cultural ambassadors at one of their practice sessions.

The end result makes you want to jump up and dance but while it may look easy, the children of Grace Primary School’s steel band admit that learning the songs take practice and hard work.

Q: “You don’t think the combinations for the songs are hard though?”

Jamie Lee Rock, 13 Years Old

“Sort of… or the jazz songs that we play, and the Punta songs.”

Q: “What’s hard about it?”

Jamie Lee Rock

“You have to play really, really fast and it’s kind of hard cause you forget to hit some notes and that makes it kind of hard.”

Q: “Are you excited about Mexico?”

Jamie Lee Rock

“Definitely!”

Ronny Daly, 13 Years Old

“We get to go places and perform and let people like to hear the music.”

Q: “What kind of song do you like play the best?”

Ronny Daly

“Folksongs.”

Q: “Like which song?”

Ronny Daly

“Creole medley, Aziatic – “Chatty Chatty,” “Neighba get up,” “I wah married to ah.”

Q: “Why do you like hearing them the best?”

Ronny Daly

“Cause it’s lively.”

Lively music was what attracted six year old Rajeev Scott to join the band.

Rajeev Scott, 6 Years Old

“My mom is a piano teacher so I thought to play an instrument like her. And the steel band… I like all the songs so I decided to join it.”

Q: “What you like best about being in a band?”

Rajeev Scott

“Performing for people.”

It was the band’s self assured presence and stunning performance that captivated judges and audience alike at the recent Festival of Arts. It was there that members of the Mexican diplomatic core heard the group and decided to invite the band to Mexico to perform.

Gloria Edwards, Principal, Grace Primary School

“They happened to be the only people playing steel band and the people in Mexico are used to having a steel band. They do not get steel bands from other places visiting. Belize has represented in other years by the Pan Tempters and this year they asked the children to go.”

Q: “Are you excited about them going?”

Gloria Edwards

“I wouldn’t say excited. We’re looking forward to going. It’s going to be a very hectic trip because they’ll be traveling from seven o’clock tomorrow to noon Thursday to get to Vera Cruz and then they’ll be travelling everyday to different towns to perform. So it will not be vacation; they’ll be working hard.”

And even though I worked hard to learn how to play, my music didn’t exactly sound like the rest of the band. I think I like it better when they play. Janelle Chanona for News Five.

The delegation, which will also travel all the way to Mexico City, includes the twenty-three members of the steel band and ten teachers and parents as chaperons. The band leaves tomorrow morning. Their expenses will be covered by the Belize Arts Council in conjunction with the Mexican Latin American Festival and UNESCO. Grace Primary School received 19 medals at this year’s Festival of Arts.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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