Thirty-five primary schools will perform a song on the events of either the Annunciation or the Birth of Christ, in tomorrow’s National Junior Parang Festival. This represents an increase from 25 schools in 2016.
On Sunday, 19 secondary schools will present two songs, the first on either the Annunciation or the Birth of Christ and the second, a tune of their choice. The festival takes place at the Valsayn Campus of the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Old Southern Main Road in Valsayn.
This year the festival is dedicated to Michael Lezama –a member of the original San Jose Serenaders and current leader of the band. He is being recognised for his long-standing contribution to parang. The San Jose Serenaders is the guest performer on Sunday, while Los Sonidos, former Junior Parang winner, is the guest performer on Saturday.
The Junior Parang Festival began in 1978. The National Parang Association began hosting the festival in 1990 and it is held annually in November.
The festival aims to preserve and promote the rich elements of TT’s Hispanic heritage in schools; expose participants to the music, songs, dances and language associated with parang; and encourage participants to be good citizens, living a good life, in a good country.
In its early life, the Junior Parang Festival was a half-day event. By the year 2005, the number of participating schools (primary and secondary) increased to 40. This saw the festival become a two-day affair. Presently, there are 60, 35 primary and 25 secondary, registered in the programme. This means over 1,000 young people are involved each year and it continues to attract new schools and greater public support.
The Junior Parang Programme provides the opportunity for students to learn more of a foreign language (Spanish) and/or to learn a musical instrument.
Upon graduating from secondary schools, many of the young parranderos gravitate to senior bands. Some have stayed together and formed their own bands. In so doing, they have created a business model for themselves, thus achieving one of the desired outcomes of the Junior Parang Festival.
The National Parang Association and the National Lotteries Control Board are hosting the festival. Adults pay $60, youths 12 to 19 pay $40 and those 11 and under, free. Showtime on both days is 9 am.
Arima Boys’& Girls’ RC, Arima Boys’ Govt, Arima Girls’ Govt, Aripo RC, Barataria Anglican, Brazil RC, Caparo RC, Carapichaima RC, Chaguanas RC, Cunapo RC, Curepe Fatima RC, Good Shepherd Anglican, Gran Couva RC, Jerningham Govt, La Horquetta North Govt, La Veronica RC, Malabar RC; Mayo RC, Newtown Boys’ RC, Newtown Girls’ RC, Paramin RC, Sacred Heart Boys’ RC, Sacred Heart Girls’ RC, San Juan Boys’ RC, San Juan Girls’ Govt, San Rafael RC, St Ann’s RC, St Benedict’s RC, St Charles Girls’ RC, St Joseph Boys’ RC; St Peter’s RC, Success RC, The University School, Tunapuna Boys’ RC, La Seiva RC,
Belmont Secondary, Bishop Anstey High, Bishop Anstey & Trinity College East, El Dorado East Secondary, Holy Faith Convent –Couva, Holy Name Convent, Mucurapo West Secondary; Providence Girls’ Catholic School, Queen’s Royal College, St Augustine Secondary, St Charles High, St George’s College, St Joseph’s Convent–Port of Spain, St Joseph’s Convent–St Joseph, St Mary’s College, Tableland Secondary, Tranquillity Secondary and Trinity College.