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NO LAUGHING MATTER: Pinelands workshop is truly creative

Mac Fingall

NO LAUGHING MATTER: Pinelands workshop  is truly creative

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The Pinelands Creative Workshop honoured Stedson Wiltshire, Red Plastic Bag, last Tuesday evening at the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School. This honour was in recognition of his work and achievementsin the art of calypso writing and singing.

As we all know, it is said that “a man is without honour in his own country”, hence one can understand the special pride that Red Plastic Bag would have felt on such an occasion. This pride would also have been boosted by the obvious amount of work and preparation that the production demanded. The Pinelands Creative Workshop spared no effort in ensuring the success of the event. It was indeed an honour.

But it was the large number of amazingly talented children used by the workshop that blew me away. I did not count them but they must have been about 40 of them. They danced, acted, sang and played musical instruments with aplomb.

The human being strives on “identity”. Everybody innately wants to be known for something. Everybody innately wants to feel like “somebody”. In some cases, people even boast about “negative identities”. Some people brag about being the best rum-drinkers; some even brag about being good at cheating or even stealing; some are known as the best “cursers”. These achievements, though seen by society as “negative”, give these folks an identity. They have their own claim to fame. They are known for something.

With this reality in mind, it is incumbent upon society to ensure that our youth get a “positive identity” as early as possible. This sets them on the right track.

When you hear of our young men and women being caught with drugs or being caught stealing at age 34 or 35, in most cases they were doing these acts since they were 12 and 13 years old but have only now got caught or caught again. So you see, the earlier you are on the right track, the better off you will be. The earlier the “positive identity” the better.

This is why I was so excited and pleased with the Pinelands Creative Workshop’s production last Tuesday evening. It gave about 40 little children an identity – a positive identity. They all must feel like “somebody”. They are all known for something positive.

Congratulations to Mr Grant and his staff at the Pinelands Creative Workshop. Your model should be emulated all across Barbados. Every community should be mandated to have a “creative workshop”.

Sacrifice and commitment

I refuse to believe that the talent displayed in the Pine is restricted to the Pine only. We all know of the talent nationwide, but the difference would be the commitment and sacrifice that have to be made. There must be other people in other communities willing to make the same sacrifice and commitment as the Pinelands folks do. It must be seen as all part of saving Barbados.

This event, the honouring of RPB, coincided with the end of Camp Fusion – another Pinelands project. At this year’s summer camp, members of the Royal Barbados Police Force Band assisted with the preparation of the interpretations of RPB’s songs. In just six weeks the policemen were able to get these “Pine lads” and “Pine lasses” to perform the chosen songs with great efficiency and in some cases flawlessly.

The Royal Barbados Police Force must be highly commended for this outstanding contribution. I can imagine the patience and understanding that the officers must have applied. To see tiny tots playing brass instruments with such confidence must certainly have given the thought to those present that “all is not lost” for it surely countered the negative publicity which we are all bombarded with daily as it relates to our young people.

There are a few observations that I made which also warmed my heart. Dave “Smooth” Harris, of radio fame, came to the event to watch his daughter play the National Anthem of Barbados. She played it well on the flute with only six weeks training. But the fact that her father took time out to come and support her is what touched me. We all know how fathers are viewed these days.

I must also make mention of the courageous interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer by the Pinelands singers. It was simply beautiful. I know it would scare the purists but it had a “who we are-ness” about it.

The gentleman who sang Plastic Bag’s Panic is a singer and a calypsonian of a high order whether he wants to be or not.

The young lady who sang Bag’s Arthritis is a good singer and an excellent performer. I would dare to say that if she were to enter the Pic-O-De-Crop competition, we might very well get our second female Calypso Monarch.

Pinelands Creative Workshop, thank you!

• Mac Fingall is an entertainer and retired secondary school teacher. Email [email protected]