Brother and sister Nixon Callender II and Veronica Callender, of Belmont, are creative children with a love for music.
Nixon, ten, attends Sacred Heart Boys’ RC School ,where his favourite subjects are vocabulary, grammar, science and social studies. However, he also plays or is learning to play the guitar, the conga and djembe drums. He also loves to sing and play football.
His love for music began while attending the YMCA pre-school, where his mother signed him up for all the extra-curricular activities. This included music, arts and craft, gymnastics and swimming.
“When I was five years old one of my teachers introduced me to the national steel pan and singing. We would go play at the Desperadoes panyard once a week.”
He said he liked all the activities and he did well in them but he loves music because it makes people happy and he wants to encourage others to play music and be happy.
He started drumming when he started primary school. He heard the other students playing, went home to look at a beginner’s tutorial on YouTube, and joined the class soon after.
In 2017, he entered his first calypso competition at Sacred Heart where he placed second in the infants category. The next year he placed first with the song Born Entertainment written by Roxanne Brown-Phillip with music by Myron B.
There was no competition in 2019, but in 2020 he entered and won again with the song Alcohol is a Killer. At that point he decided he would not enter any more school competitions. Instead, in the near future, he wants to enter the junior calypso competition.
Soon to be going into standard four, Nixon said he has been begging his mother for a guitar since pre-school but she could not afford one. It was in March 2020, when she signed him up for music lessons with Joseph Rivers at Calypso Specialist of Trinidad and Tobago, that he finally got his wish.
He said he was surprised and excited when his mother gave him the guitar, but he also wanted to learn to play as many instruments as possible.
“I will still play music when I grow up but I want to be the boss of my own tech company. I will give half to my parents and use the other half to provide for my family.”
He said he enjoyed playing computer games but it was when he started online classes and spending hours on the computer that he decided he would build a company based around computers, smart phones, tablets, and “everything based on technology.”
In addition to music lessons, just before the “lockdown” last year, he had also joined the Cardinal Football Academy.
While Veronica, seven, likes to sing like her big brother and accompany him with the chac chac, she also loves to dance, read books, and listen to all types of music.
She too attended the YMCA pre-school and took part in all the extra-curricular activities available and even played the pan for her graduation ceremony.
Now attending Newtown Girls’ RC School, she enjoys all her school subjects as well as dance, story-telling, and singing. She also recently joined the dance group, Dance Dynamix of TT.
“I like how the teacher teaches me new steps, I like the exercise, and we dance to Toast by (Jamaican reggae artist) Koffee and other songs.”
She also likes animals and reading about them. Even though she has three dogs and no cats, cats are her favourite because her father likes them and she is not allergic to them.
“I see people on YouTube that don’t like cats scratching them and they sneeze but they’re so cute that they want to blow my mind!”
She will be starting standard one in September and would like to join the school choir and will begin piano lessons.
She wants to be a singer when she grows up.