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Revellers kiss big stage

By Clint Chan Tack Tuesday, March 8 2011

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REVELLERS dropped to their knees and kissed the big stage with reverence as Carnival returned to Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain with a bang yesterday after an absence of several years.

Neither the blazing midday sun nor intermittent afternoon showers could contain the unbridled joy of masqueraders as they paraded through the Savannah throughout the course of the day.

Following J’ouvert celebrations earlier in the day, activities at the Savannah got going in earnest with the band Bliss being the first Carnival band to cross the stage at 11.50 am to give the patrons a sampling of their 2011 presentation “The Warrior Within.”

A small band of minstrels provided a brief musical interlude before large band Spice showed up to provide an appetiser of their presentation “Botanica — A Floral Extravaganza.”

Trini Revellers arrived on stage at 1.30 pm and took patrons back to medieval times with their presentation of “Ode to Merry Old England.” Revellers was one of the few bands whose members came out in full costume portraying knights and dragons. Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis was the standard bearer for the “sorcerers and wizards” section of Revellers.

Speaking with Newsday before Revellers took the stage, Baptiste-Cornelis said: “ I’m having a blast. I play mas every year with Trini Revellers.” She said she missed mas in the Savannah and disclosed she was “one of those advocates in Cabinet” who lobbied for Carnival to return to the Savannah. Baptiste-Cornelis said while she felt the flow was smooth at the Savannah yesterday, “the fear with the stage is that there always is that there may be a backlog” but expressed optimism that today’s celebrations in the Savannah will surpass yesterday’s festivities.

Stating that she was being continuously updated by the CEOs of all the country’s Regional Health Authorities, Baptiste-Cornelis said all health facilities stood ready to treat any injuries or ailments and paramedics are ready to respond to any emergency. She said the only sad news she received during the festivities was that a 60-year-old woman died in Port-of-Spain. Baptiste- Cornelis said she was not advised as to the woman’s cause of death but was told “she actually died jumping up.”

Other bands crossing the Savannah stage were Harts’ “Planet Rock” and Tribe’s “The Way of the Warrior” with Tribe taking half an hour to cross the stage. Sports Minister Anil Roberts was seen in the midst of Tribe, ushering masqueraders along.

During the day several masqueraders from preceding bands returned to frolic on stage before running back to rejoin their bands. “We know how you feel about the stage but other people would like to use the stage,” the Savannah’s announcers told revellers. Along Frederick Street, The People’s Band, Genesis and Island People were part of the queue of bands waiting to hit the stage.

In terms of the race for Road March, Machel Montano held the “Advantage” for the majority of the day at the Savannah with his tune being played about 20 times by most of the bands crossing the stage playing his music.

His closest rival was Neil “Iwer George” whose “Come to Me” tune was played about nine times.

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