2,500 youngsters to perform at Grand Gala tomorrow

Monday, August 05, 2019

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Approximatel y 2,500 young people, drawn from communities across the Corporate Area and St Catherine, will perform at tomorrow's Independence Grand Gala, which will culminate Jamaica's 57th Emancipation and Independence celebrations.

Scheduled to take place at the National Stadium, the annual cultural showcase will feature presentations in music, drama, song and dance, by costumed and uniformed groups alongside popular local artistes.

During the event, Rita Marley and Sizzla Kalonji will be honoured for their contribution to the development of Jamaica's music industry.

According to Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia “Babsy” Grange, the show will display the “cultural diversity that is reflective of the Jamaican motto, 'Out of many one people', as well as our theme for the Emancipation and Independence celebrations 'One Nation…One people'”.

Grange noted that the performers, who were trained over a three-week period, were selected from 13 communities. She said there are plans to increase the number of costumed groups for future events.

“More and more communities are reaching out to us, saying we want to get involved. So we expect to grow in numbers as we continue the Grand Gala. We are hoping that for our 60th anniversary we will have an extremely large and powerful presentation in the National Stadium,” said Grange, as she noted that the annual event also provides an avenue for community members to earn.

“The fact that these activities are taking place creates an opportunity for an income because everybody earns something. The caterers earn something, the dressmakers, the tailors earn something and persons who are assisting with the children, such as the marshals, get a stipend. So it has its economic value as well as social and cultural values,” declared Grange.

In the meantime, director of production and events at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Gregory Simms, is reminding patrons that no weapons will be allowed inside the National Stadium for the staging of the Grand Gala.

He said that no bottles or umbrellas with shafts will be permitted and the police will be vigilant in enforcing the rules in order to ensure everyone's safety.

Simms has encouraged persons to get to the stadium early for the event. Gates will open at 3 pm to facilitate a prompt 6 pm start.

He also invited Jamaicans to participate in this year's festival fashion under the theme, 'Roots and Culture' by wearing outfits inspired by their cultural heritage and share the experience on social media.

“Put on your African clothes. Put on your Chinese and Indian clothes, your sari. Represent your heritage in roots and culture,” said Simms.

“Tag the JCDC. Tag the Ministry of Culture. Find us on Instagram and on Facebook and share your experiences. This is how we can share together and celebrate one nation, one people,” he said, as he noted that the gala will be live-streamed on the JCDC's website


The Grand Gala will launch local activities for the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024.

The year-long celebrations will highlight and commemorate the important contributions that people of African descent have made to the Jamaican society.

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