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Costume Chase

Anesta Henry

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BY THINKING OUTSIDE the box, bandleader Trevor Chase who brought The Many Movements Of The Landship theme to Kadooment this year “created excitement that was not seen for a long time on the road”.It is because of this “totally different and whole new concept” that Chase’s Ooutraje band captured the lion’s share of prizes this year. Two of them included Best Band On The Road and the BMA Brands Of Barbados Award in the large band category.Chase, who has been involved in the Crop-Over Festival for over 22 years, told the SUNDAY SUN he was proud and happy with his successes in this year’s Kadooment Day parade. The 56-year-old customs broker disclosed that this year’s theme had been conceptualised three years ago.“But I never thought at that time that all the masqueraders were mature enough to want to go with it . . . . So, I just kept the idea to myself. Then I said that my success over the last three years was enough to tell me that the masqueraders were ready, because they were now accustomed to winning. “Today, I feel great that the theme I chose would have been able to cause the buzz that it did,” he said.Chase, thinking his revellers ready, began planning – well before the start of the season. But then he was faced with the challenge of convincing his band’s planning committee that the concept was one of the best he had ever come up with.“It was not one of the favourite ideas of my committee. My own membership thought that a band with predominantly white costumes could not be marketed in a way that would convince a buyer that’s what he would want to wear on Kadooment Day. They didn’t think the buyer would want to wear a long pants or be fully clothed.“You may have seen some bands do slightly before what we have done this year – but not in the regimental way we did it. It spoke volumes for being able to have the concept in your head and then to see it come alive on the road and get the kind of accreditation given by members of the public and the judges,” said the leader whose band carried 300 plus members.The St Philip resident said that before this year Ooutraje was underestimated by the public because it was categorised as a small band – which by National Cultural Foundation (NCF) standards falls below 299 members. But, according to Chase, his band had always been doing great things. Help from manyHe was quick to point out that he could not have done it all alone; his sponsors, committee members, revellers played a great role.“Since three years ago, we have never won fewer than seven prizes a year – and this is something that a lot of people don’t know. It is just this year that we moved to the big band category and people started to recognise us; but we have always done well.”The married father of three explained: “I don’t come up with all of these creative ideas myself. I have a committee that helps me every year. Some years the ideas come easy, and other years we really have to do some thinking. “Believe it or not, this year we went to a modelling show, and someone give us a concept. At first, we thought it was a little funny; but we may very well end up using that theme sometime,” he said.For Chase, a bandleader who “truly cherishes Crop-Over” is one who has the capability to be creative every year. That’s why he dislikes “some bands using the festival”, and is looking forward to seeing some “sweeping changes” as of next season.“If these party bands don’t want to be judged, why are they being given a subvention? I am saying that something is drastically wrong with the system. It needs to be overhauled, looked at . . . . “I am willing to sit at any table with the organisers of the festival. I want them to look at the festival and make sure it retains certain aspects. What I am saying to the NCF . . . compliment the things that would make people say, ‘That is real Bajan, I like that’. “If the [organisers] don’t get up and smell the coffee, it is going to be too late,” says the bandleader who intends “to surpass this year’s presentations”.