Award-winning students from public and private schools performed at the Harquail Theatre on Tuesday night in the first of six final concerts for the 2008 National Children’s Festival of the Arts.
Performers in Tuesday’s Speech and Drama category were relaxed and animated in their delivery, probably in part because the competition phase of the festival was over. Every act on the bill had already won Gold or Silver in the preliminary rounds.
Mrs. Angela Martins welcomed the audience on Tuesday. As Chief Officer and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Training, Employment, Youth, Sports and Culture, she has spoken at previous NCFA events.
On Tuesday, she lamented the first eight empty rows in the theatre. She saluted parents and family members present, but wondered where other parents were.
She said the children were trying their best. ‘To the extent we show up and yell for them, we tell them how special and valuable they are,’ she said.
The louder an audience cheers, the more the students will be motivated to try again, Mrs. Martins observed.
In contrast, the theatre on Wednesday night was sold out for the dance programme.
Maybe it was the difference in the number of students involved each night. Maybe it was the perception that dancing would be colourful and lively, while speech and drama were likely to be static.
Some of the students had elaborate costumes and props while others wore school uniforms. Whether they gave solo recitations or acted out mini-plays, it was obvious they understood what they were saying and put their whole selves into their performance.
Some entries, like the Lighthouse School’s Dear Mr. Jesus, received standing ovations.
Tuesday’s concert featured nine school groups and 19 soloists. Together they gave an evening’s entertainment worth far more than the $5 admission.
NCFA continues on Saturday night at the Aston Rutty Centre in Cayman Brac.
On Tuesday, 10 June Bands and Soloists perform at the First Baptist Christian School.
On Wednesday, 11 June, winners in the choral and song writing categories perform at Agape.
The Young Musician of the Year finale is set for Thursday, 12 June at First Baptist.