Marching on for Pirate’s Week

One of the many highlights of
Pirates Week is the world-famous float parade.

At that wonderful explosion of
colour, people from all areas and nationalities get together to parade through
George Town with ever-more elaborate floats and costumes, themed on Caymanian
history, the present and the future.

It is a family-friendly, exuberant
celebration of the diversity of culture and similarity of mind that makes the
Cayman Islands such a unique and beautiful place, and this year’s event,
beginning at 3pm on Saturday, 13 November, will be another great example of the
creativity and inclusiveness that the festival does so well.

Getting ready for this year’s
parade is the Cayman Islands Marching Band, which has something quite
spectacular planned to ensure 2010 is as energetic as ever.

“We do a lot of movement with the
instruments and play popular music as well as traditional, sacred music,” said
Professor Chip Powell, band director.

“One thing that makes us very
different is that we do a lot of dance moves with the music. The students
select the songs as well as the choreography, which makes it their thing rather
than my thing,” he said.

Previous performance

The marching band was formed in
2009 and has previously performed at Gimistory in Elizabethan Square. The
performance for the Pirates Week parade is being designed at the moment, said
the director, adding that it is important to put across a positive image at the
festival as the temperature rises.

“We definitely want to play some
traditional Cayman songs as well as some popular tunes along the parade route.
I like to express the Cayman traditions during Pirates Week, and we wanted to
participate so people could see that young people on Cayman are doing positive
things and can express that positively in the community.

“A traditional marching band
uniform is pretty hot, so we came up with a uniform that expresses what is
considered traditional Cayman clothing from the late 19th and early 20th
century. We got together with some local embroiderers who are going to put it
together,” he revealed.

Talent on show

The float parade also presents an
opportunity for the band to show their talent, continued Mr. Powell.

“I’m really looking forward to
people seeing what these young people can do, the discipline that they have and
the skill set that they will demonstrate. All the music is memorised; they
don’t carry it on their instruments like other groups do. It’s their band, I
just guide them.

At present the marching band
comprises around 30 members, but they are looking to recruit many more. The
youngest member is a year 7 student, age 12, and the oldest is 18.

“There’s no cut-off [age-wise] as
such, but they must be mature enough to play the music and be able to deal with
the physical rigours of the marching and the choreography.

“The band is mainly woodwind, brass
and percussion, and we would be very interested if there was somebody
interested in carrying steel pans strapped on,” he added.

This year marks the band leader’s
first experience with Pirates Week, and he said he is very excited to find out
what the events have in store.

“I want to get a snippet of all of
it. As well as the parade, we’re performing at George Town Heritage Day and I’m
keen to participate in and partake of all the traditional Cayman events that
are associated with it,” he said.

People interested in joining the
marching band are invited to contact [email protected] or ring 916-1629.

Those interested in registering to
participate in the float parade at Cayman’s National Festival Pirates Week can
download an entry form at

There are several different
categories available including large floats, small floats, walking groups,
non-competing floats, non-competing walking groups, corporation, districts,
schools and beauty pageant winners. Entry forms should be submitted with the
relevant entry fee no later than 22 October, 2010.


The Pirates Week parade is the height of colour.
Photo: Alan Markoff

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