SATURDAY’S INDEPENDENCE GALA AND PARADE: A MUST SEE

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Excellent local entertainment, and much pomp and ceremony are promised in a family-friendly programme and atmosphere that will usher in this country’s 42nd anniversary of Independence on the night of November 29.

In what has been billed as a “glamorous event to witness”, the more than four-hour long extravaganza will commence with a potpourri of some of the best Barbadian acts and performances on stage. This will give way to a parade of uniformed units and a ceremonial display that will seek to mimic and induce nostalgia of that historic night back in 1966.

It will represent a departure from what obtained previously, as the evening proceedings will signal a break from past Independence ceremonies when the Savannah comes alive with the sights and sounds of young and not so young Barbadian artistes who are household names here.

The choreographed reenactment is designed to allow Barbadians to reminisce and reflect on that watershed period in our history, and will undoubtedly bring back memories of events clamouring to be seen and heard.  Indeed, from the sound of the canter of the Mounted Police horses, the floodlit tattoo and the march past of “government boots” in the still of the night, to the lowering of the Union Jack and the unfurling of the Broken Trident, many will relive and again revere that night.

Saturday’s event, themed: “Barbados on the move, Growing through Excellence”, will be a multimedia show, which dramatises the changing face of the Barbadian cultural, social and political landscape over the past four decades, merged with military ceremonial parade elements.
It is envisaged that the production will flow seamlessly through the various sequences and utilise the performing arts – music, dance, theatre (video and narration) to highlight the milestones.

The overall intention is to arouse the nationalistic feeling of pride and industry among those Barbadians attending, who should leave the Garrison on the morning of Sunday, November 30, emotionally moved and proud to be Bajan.

The entertainment segment will run for just over two hours, and the ceremonial parade will cover an almost similar time-frame. The former will feature some of Barbados’ best performers: Red Plastic Bag, the Mighty Gabby, Tony Grazette, Michael Thompson, Mark Lorde, Tamara Marshall, Ishaka McNeil, John King, Paula Hinds, Nicholas Brancker and the Independence Gala Band, Arturo Tappin, David Walcott, Natalie, Kimberly Inniss, Adrian Clarke, the Youth Mass Folk Choir, and NIFCA award winners, among others.

Some well-known personalities – Vic Fernandes, Marvo Manning, Vic Brewster and Wayne Simmons – will narrate aspects of the programme that will highlight particular decades of statehood in a virtual time-tunnel journey.

Large video screens will augment the spectacle, relaying to the expected thousands what transpires on stage.

During the New Millennium section – Tribute to the Youth – 100 schoolchildren will perform a choreographed dance in front of the stage, and this will culminate with the formation of the Barbados flag.

A number of prominent local artistes, who were earmarked to appear in the gala part of the show, are unavailable because of prior overseas commitments.  However, as a spokesperson from the Organising Committee of the Prime Minister’s Office observed, “we have tapped some very good replacements”.

As for the ceremonial parade segment, this is expected to evoke the usual pleasure and admiration since it will embrace all elements of the traditional Independence Parade. Taking pride of place will be the ceremonial formation and array of the various troops – Cadets, Coast Guard, Barbados Defence Force (BDF) and Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) officers, as well as a procession of unarmed units that will bring deference to the evening’s proceedings.

Other highlights include: the “Troop” by mass bands, March Pasts in slow and quick time by the unarmed units, a March Past by the Legion, Baton Swinging by a RBPF detachment, a tribute to the Landship, Prayers for the Nation by Father Harcourt Blackett, the National Pledge by Captain Hartley Dottin, ‘Three Cheers’ for Barbados, and the announcement of this year’s Independence Awards.

A Salute to the Nation, that will see the raising of the Barbados flag on the stroke of midnight, is planned; and a fireworks display will bring the curtain down on proceedings.

Persons attending the event will receive miniature Barbadian flags as they enter the Garrison; and they will be able to view footage of idyllic Barbados – land and seascapes with accompanying DJ music as a prelude to the 8:00 p.m. official start.

Let us hope for a rain-free moonlight night, befitting the occasion we are commemorating.

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