IT was an historic Carnival 2019 for Stoute Next Generation with its first ever Tobago Band of the Year title. The Sou Sou Lands band, led by Candice Chang-Sandy, copped the crown with its presentation Kaleidoscope – We Colourz.
Placing second overall was Eldez and Associates with West Indian Jungle, led by Marcus DesVignes. Astra Winchester of Astra Winchester Creations walked away with third place with her presentation Solar Energy.
In the medium category, DesVignes’ West Indian Jungle copped the top spot. Minstrel’s of Tobago by Len and Vernella Toppin won the top prize in the small band category with a presentation of Cophetua Somewhere In.
Speaking with Newsday Tobago on Wednesday, bandleader Chang-Sandy said she remained emotionless upon receiving the news of her victory.
She said, “Honestly, I don’t know if I haven’t been hit as yet but I am emotionless at the moment. I don’t have any reactions or emotions to say at this time."
Chang-Sandy said several failures in the past have left her numb towards this year's results.
“For us, year after year it has been a trial and error. I think one of the reasons why I don’t have any emotions this year is because of the fact that I have conditioned my mind – even though I want to win band of the year, I don’t expect it. Seeing that I went into the season not expecting it, having done it now is sort of… I just don’t get the excitement and the buzz that some other people are feeling,” she said,
Although seemingly indifferent to the success, other members of the mas camp were thrilled and ready to pop champagne.
She said, “I passed by the mas camp, there were masqueraders there, there were family there. The only thing we’ve come up with so far is that there would be a celebration, but in terms of how, that hasn’t been worked out as yet.”
Chang-Sandy, whose love of mas was inherited, dedicated the victory to her mother Gloria Stoute, whose band Gloria Stoute and Associates gave birth to Stoute Next Generation seven years ago. Stoute Next Generation is run solely by Gloria's children and grandchildren.
Chang-Sandy delved into the ideas that they tried to bring to life in this year's production, Kaleidoscope – We Colourz.
“We would have incorporated tie dye into this year's production. We would have had a number of local designers from Stoute’s Next Generation, from Gloria’s children and grandchildren; we would have actually designed three of the four sections that we produced this year – the tie dye section being one of them designed by the king of the band, Winston Chadband."
Chnag-Shandy said the victory was as a result of a lot of hard work and brainstorming.
“We did a lot of tweaking. We critiqued each other really, really hard to the point where at times people wanted to give up. With that, we tried to perfect what we came up with and we tried to put a show together for the spectators. One of the sections they were actually working hard at doing was a presentation. We actually tried to put a little more effort into the presentation this year,” she said.
Chang-Sandy recalled the lead-up to Carnival preparations was not smooth as the financial aspect of mas affected them.
She said, “A number of persons were complaining of the status of the economy as they were watching their dollars and cents, and I think that also impacted on the number of people we had on the road, generally across all the bands, I think."
She noted however that "the masqueraders that participated… everybody said that they had mad fun, and everybody seemed to have enjoyed themselves considerably. I think in some places, for example Roxborough on Monday, we were hoping to see more people spectating but apart from that, they did have fun.”