DISAPPOINTMENT etched the faces of members of the NLCB Fonclaire Steel Orchestra as they reacted, yesterday, to the announcement by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh of the closure of performing spaces for another three weeks.
Some of the younger players cried openly because Fonclaire was all set to celebrate its 55th anniversary with a mega concert carded for the Amphitheatre, Naparima Bowl, San Fernando, this Sunday.
The concert was scheduled to feature guest artistes such as Swappi, Baron, Jazz exponent Vaughnette Bigford among other talented singers and musicians.
Confirmation of the closure also came from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts that the national performance spaces under its remit, namely, Queen's Hall, Naparima Bowl, the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) are to be closed with effect from midnight Wednesday, until further notice.
The ministry advised that managers of the national performance spaces would communicate with event promoters and producers about the cancellation and/or postponement of bookings.
It said it also looked forward to welcoming the public back to the performance spaces when they are re-opened.
Disappointed Fonclaire managing director Darren Sheppard said he was hoping, by Thursday, to get confirmation from Naparima Bowl’s CEO Marlon De Bique for another date sometime in June or early July.
He said consideration would be given to young players who will be writing CSEC and CAPE. He said guest artistes have also called and committed to performing at a later date.
“The show must go on. We are not going virtual. Virtual options just don’t generate any revenue. The place is just saturated with it.”
He said he felt the hurt for his players, especially the young ones, who have been rehearsing for months for the anticipated concert on Sunday.
“I am sorry but the action the Government did not take over the Easter weekend would have contributed to this closure and nobody seems to be taking them to task for this.”
College Boy Jesse (Jesse Stewart) who was scheduled to have his first solo concert at the Naparima Bowl on Saturday, said he was now considering his options.
Disappointed by the closure after all the time, money and other resources invested, Jesse said he was awaiting word from De Bique.
He said once a virtual concert was a viable option, he was willing to steer that course.
He said he was at pains to understand the reason behind the closure of performance spaces when the creatives who were badly affected were now trying to regain some lost grounds and earn an income.
He said as far as he knows there is no statistical evidence to show positive cases evolving from these venues and wish Government could reconsider its decision.
Newsday made several attempts to get clarity from Deyalsingh as to whether entertainment spaces included cinemas, without any success.
Movie Towne entrepreneur Derek Chin said although neither cinemas nor casinos were specified, he checked with his attorneys and the ordinance and they are not included.
“If they wanted to close cinemas, I guess they would have specified. We are still trying to get them to ease up on the restriction to serve food in the cinemas, because we are operating at a loss without food. We are running just for the sake of running.”
Chin said during the period November to early March when cinemas were opened, the number of covid19 cases were at its lowest.
“So there is no reason why food in cinemas or even in-house dining is an issue.”