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Queen’s Park splendour


Gercine Carter

Queen’s Park splendour

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Colour, fashion and music prevailed over dark, gloomy skies and intermittent showers as large numbers braved the early morning inclement weather for yesterday’s traditional Christmas Morning In Queen’s Park.
When the Royal Barbados Police Force Band struck up its first notes at 7:30 a.m., there were a mere handful of spectators sheltering from a heavy drizzle under a National Cultural Foundation tent.
But the numbers grew steadily as the morning wore on and other artistes mounted the bandstand for the two-hour concert which saw performances by guest soloists Mark Lord and tenor Anthony “CroCro” Barnard.
In a programme laced with variety, spectators were treated to popular traditional and modern carols as well as calypso, while a smiling Superintendent Keith Ellis moved his baton with smooth dexterity, perhaps reflecting his joy at the welcome Christmas news of his appointment to the position of director of music.
Under a canopy of colourful umbrellas, park-goers, Barbadians and visitors alike huddled close to the bandstand and cheered loudly, particularly when Superintendent Ellis took the microphone to belt out his Christmas standard, Brook Benton’s You’re All I Want For Christmas, moving one spectator to rush up to the bandstand to swoon as he sang.
Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell, a Queen’s Park regular on Christmas morning, wished everyone a “merry Christmas” from under his umbrella.
He told the DAILY NATION: “The spirit is here and that is what is important at Christmas. Celebration is an essential part of life in difficult times as much as in times of plenty.
“Celebration is what gives us the courage and encouragement to face the difficulties that we face and Barbados is in a better position to deal with our difficulties than most countries and the Barbadian spirit is what is going to see us through.”
Worrell said he believed the future “will be prosperous because we have to believe in ourselves and we do”.
Spanish visitors Mike and Toni Trainer, on their first visit to Barbados, sat through the rain enjoying the music, after hearing about the concert during a visit to Andromeda Gardens.
Rudy Maloney, formerly of Passage Road, came home from Kissimmee, Florida, to experience an old-time Bajan Christmas and a favourite boyhood experience, Christmas Morning In The Park.
“This experience really brings back memories. My mother used to dress me as a little boy to come into the park,” he said.
Bajan corrections officer in New York, Esther Archer, has been gone 32 years but said she must return every year to be in the park on Christmas morning.
The few vendors of ham-cutters, hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and toys did a brisk business, while the children kept Santa and the clown busy.
As the Police Band ended its performance, the religious band Promise sounded at the west end of the park, signalling another two-hour concert aimed mainly at the younger promenaders but also attracting many older fans.
A large crowd also gathered to watch the Barbados Landship perform manoeuvres in front of Queen’s Park House.

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