Close to 40 students from the School for Children with Special Needs will be among the hundreds of children who will cross the stage at the Victoria Park tomorrow at the Junior Fete World: Mas Edition.
The children will be members of their own section dubbed “Celebration through Music”, as part of the 2019 presentation of 10-time band of the year, Nelson Bloc.
“Even though they are not being judged, they’re making a guest appearance and they’ll feel good to be on the stage,” band leader, Alvern Ali Cadogan told SEARCHLIGHT this week.
Nelson Bloc’s partnership with the School for Children with Special Needs has been going on for the past three years.
Cadogan said the children used pieces of different sections in Nelson Bloc in previous years but this year, she was able to acquire a sponsor who funded a section specifically for them.
Excitement buzzed among the children on Wednesday when the band leader delivered some of the costumes to the school.
Naseem Smith, the principal said that she was elated that the children would have an opportunity to wear full costumes this year.
“Nelson Bloc has been a member of our extended school family for the last three years. They get the children hyped at this time of year and this year, we found a guardian angel through Nelson Bloc to donate all the costumes that you see here. So our students not only get to cross the stage in junior mas, but they get to cross the stage in style,” she told SEARCHLIGHT.
Smith said that students at the School for Children with Special Needs don’t necessarily have the chance to experience this aspect of the culture and she is happy that this year, “they are allowed to shine on stage”.
This contribution is among many initiatives by Nelson Bloc to give back to Pauls Avenue and the surrounding community.
The band, which was started in 1983, has adopted the Bishop’s College Kingstown, where revellers usually get ready on Carnival Tuesday. The band leader said they usually paint a classroom and have in the past painted the entire school. She said they also made donations to the library as well.
The band has also given book bags, shoes and countless school supplies to children.
Nelson Bloc is a cultural organisation, so we’re not just a mas band. We don’t exist around carnival only, we’re around all year,” Bantan Bacchus, the production manager said. “We would do whatever is in our power and sometimes we don’t have the money as Ali has said, but we do anything in our power to reach out to people out there and show them the needs of these people.”
Bacchus foresees that the future of Nelson Bloc will involve visiting schools in the off season so that children can come and learn the art form “so that we can incorporate the youths of the school”.
This year, the band’s presentation, which features eight sections, is dubbed Fete Fo So.
The sections are: Fun fair, Fiesta, Gala Fete, Dusk to Dawn, Glow, Water Fete, Steel and Glitter and Mardi Gras.