For the first time in the history of the competition, a visually-impaired singer is among the 25 semifinalists in the Scotiabank Junior Monarch competition.
Two draws, calypso and soca, for the Semifinals were just held for the Scotiabank Junior Monarch Media Launch at Scotia’s Warrens, St Michael branch.
In addressing those in attendance Chief Cultural Officer at the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Andrea Wells said the NCF was thrilled to welcome a competitor from the differently-abled community.
“In celebrating your accomplishments thus far, we must single out 18-year-old Rashad Applewhaite, who is the first-ever participating student from the Irvine Wilson School and the first visually-impaired singer in the competition. The NCF has been working closely with the Barbados Council for the Disabled and we are heartened to facilitate and accommodate Rashad to ensure that he is provided with whatever he needs on and off the stage in order to compete with his peers.
Wells added: “We hope that this year’s involvement of a visually-impaired contestant opens the door for more persons who are differently able to feel empowered to be a part of the Scotiabank Junior Monarch Competition.”
Scotiabank’s Retail and Small Business Lead, Carla Boyce said the Junior Monarch programme also promotes the rich culture of Barbados ensuring that it continues with future generations.
“The Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch helps our young people learn and enhance their skills. Participants are exposed to more than just the competition aspect of the programme, but also benefit from mentorship and vocal training through scheduled workshops. We’re also hosting financial planning workshops where they learn the importance of saving, budgeting and investing. The programme truly aims to help our young people become well-rounded. All participants go on to even greater things because of their participation. They receive guidance and really sharpen their craft, understanding the intricacies of calypso, soca, their roots and legacy. Kudos to them as they take our culture to new heights!,” Boyce said.
Meanwhile, there were three position switches in the calypso category. There were no switches in the soca category.
This year the NCF will stage two Scotiabank Junior Monarch tents this Sunday, June 18 and next Sunday, June 25 at the Steel Shed, Queen’s Park. The Semifinals will be held on Sunday, July 2 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The Finals will be held on Saturday, July 15 at the National Botanical Gardens.