The National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT) celebrates its 50th anniversary with one year of celebrations starting this month on Sunday, April 18, 2021.
The press release issued by the Association, identifies Trinidad and Tobago’s Parang music tradition as embodying “the influences of the Spanish, African and our indigenous First Peoples”. From September to September every year, “the expression of this tradition bonds communities, families, friends and strangers alike into a unity of body, mind and spirit.”
In the release, NPATT President Alicia Jaggasar, cites the year-long celebration as an effort to educate both the local and international communities on Parang music, and the journey of NPATT throughout the years.
NPATT hosted a 50th anniversary Mass, with the theme, Giving Thanks & Blessings for the Parang artform on Sunday, April 18 at the Church of the Assumption, Maraval. Fr Ashton Pierre CSSp officiated and all parranderos and their instruments were blessed.
A gala event in which the NPATT’s first ever Orquesta Nacional de Parang de Trinidad y Tobago (ONPaTT) was scheduled to make its grand debut April 19 at the Queen’s Hall Auditorium Port of Spain was postponed to June 9, 7 p.m. at the same venue. On their Facebook page April 19, the Association thanked supporters for understanding as they “try to help curb the current national COVID-19 situation”. The landmark performance will be the climax of a 50th Anniversary Awards and Gala event entitled, ‘A Golden Artform Evolves’. From April 15 beaches were closed to the public except for persons engaged in conservation activities, in-house dining suspended in restaurants, cinemas, casinos and bars; public gatherings reduced to no more than five. Subsequently, on April 21 additional restrictions were announced on public gatherings for entertainment and concerts to halt community spread of COVID-19. These took effect April 22.
The celebration will also honour 50 of Trinidad and Tobago’s Parang icons and contributors to the artform over the years such as Daisy Voisin, Tito Lara, Gloria Alcazar and living legends Clarita Rivas, Henry Pereira, Sharlene Flores and others.
ONPaTT aims to promote music literacy; encourage a higher level of musicianship among its members; promote Parang as a teaching tool; make scored Parang music available to persons interested in this musical expression; and to have a united musical voice at all national festivals.
The orchestra includes a small choir of approximately eight members along with 24 musicians. The music team for ONPaTT comprises an impressive line-up of professionals including, Conductor Dr Mia Gormandy, Musical Director Enrico Camejo, Assistant Musical Director Mikhel Carter and Musical Arranger Julio Torres.
Celebrations of NPATT’s golden milestone are open to all NPATT Parang groups, churches, village councils and other musical groups in the community along with the wider public of Trinidad and Tobago.
NPATT has ensured that virus restrictions and precautions continue to be enforced during all rehearsals and these will be also be incorporated into the performance.
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