Press briefing on Independence Events – November 18, 2021. (PMO)

The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) has teamed up with bands across the island to give Barbadians a musical treat as the island looks to celebrate its transition to republic status.

Chief Executive Officer of the NCF, Carol Roberts-Reifer, revealed this on Thursday during the online press conference hosted by Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Senator Kay McConney, that addressed celebrations and plans for the island’s move to a republic on November 30. 

Mrs. Roberts-Reifer noted that in September, the NCF had teamed up with the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) Band and hosted concerts, which are expected to be replicated for the upcoming celebrations.

While acknowledging that normally the RBPF band would have hosted its usual Crop Over in the City affair but didn’t this year, she said: “We teamed up and what started off as a small project turned into three police band concerts that can easily be dubbed as ‘Tracing Our Musical History’ – the songs that have become the soundtrack of our lives.

“So, whether it is gospel, or classical or spouge or calypso, or soca or folk; whether the artistes are veterans and iconic; whether they are up and coming; whether they’re established or whether they are our junior calypsonians, they’re all involved in this project. And when we were finished with the content we had enough, not for one or two, but three concerts.”

The CEO, who said these were expected to kick off this weekend, added that the NCF is calling the series of three virtual concerts, a “Weekend with the Royal Barbados Police Force Band”.

Mrs. Roberts-Reifer, who divulged that her organisation would be involved in the major event on November 29, said: “The declaration of Barbados as a republic and the installation of the President will occur between the hours of 11, midnight and beyond. But before that we are going to have a massive celebration of Barbados and all that we stand for and the very best of the Barbadian personality.”

And, while outlining what could be expected from the series of live streamed and pre-recorded events, she gave the background to its development.  

The Royal Barbados Police Force Band and the National Cultural Foundation will team up to host a series of concerts to celebrate the country’s transition to a republic. (FP)

She stated: “Whether it is the debut of our fabulous national community steel orchestra which is a project that we began work on in March of this year, we had to make several amendments because of COVID, so we had groups of 25 young community steel band players practising all across the island and thanks very much to the secondary schools which allowed us to use their premises, and now they’re coming together. They’re going to be some 150 strong.

“We have pans that are branded in the national colours, and that national community steel orchestra will perform for you on the evening of the 29th. We’ve also assembled a tuk orchestra under the direction of Wayne “Pooka” Willock. We will have a tribute to the Barbados Landship, one of the most, if not the most enduring symbol of our intangible cultural heritage and that’s been produced by the Pinelands Creative Workshop. We’ve put together the bands that I’m calling the Republic Band that’s being directed by Nicholas Brancker, and that will be augmented with drums and strings.”

She further noted that there would be a dance group coordinated by Kelvin Carvalho, a mass choir by Ryan Boyce, and a “Who’s of Who List” of artists across all genres. 

Pointing out that the NCF would be putting together a cultural presentation that starts at approximately nine o’clock, moving seamlessly towards the start of the ceremonial proceedings of November 29, the NCF head stressed all would be streamed live for Barbadians to see.

“The best seat in the house on that night is wherever you are, comfortably wearing your Aquamarine and gold and enjoying all of the splendour. It really will be a night to be absolutely proud to be Barbadian,” Mrs. Roberts-Reifer said.

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