The trinidad Guardian / The National Parang Association of T&T (NPATT) and the NLCB are hosting the 2017 edition of the annual Junior Parang Festival on November 18 and 19 at the UTT Valsayn Campus, Old Southern Main Road, Valsayn.

On November 18, 33 primary schools perform a song on the events of either the Annunciation or the Birth of Christ. This number of schools represents an increase from 25 schools in 2016. The next day, 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.

This year the show is dedicated to Michael Lezama, a member of the original San Jose Serenaders and current leader of the band. Lezama is being recognised for his long-standing contribution to parang. The theme is Sabaneando, Sabaneando, which is part of a San Jose medley. The San Jose Serenaders are the guest performers on November 19, while former Junior Parang Festival winners Los Sonidos are the guest performers on November 18.

The Junior Parang Festival began in 1978 and is considered the oldest and longest-running cultural programme for young people in T&T. NPATT began hosting the festival in 1990 and it is held in November each year.

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 to become a two-day affair.

This year, there are 60 schools, 35 primary and 25 secondary, registered in the programme which means that over a thousand young people are involved each year, a release said.

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 our young parranderos gravitate to senior bands. Many have also stayed together and formed their own bands. In so doing, they have created a business model for themselves, which is one of the desired outcomes of the Junior Parang Festival.

Objectives of the Junior Parang Festival

? To preserve and promote the rich elements of our Hispanic heritage in schools ? To expose the participants to the music, songs, dances and language associated with parang ? To encourage the participants to be “good citizens living a good life in a good country” (Ministry of Education Curriculum Document 2005)

Admission to the Festival is adults-$60.00, young people 12-19- $40.00; ages 11 and under free. Showtime: 9 am both days.


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