Gala, a grand affair

Basil Walters

Thursday, August 09, 2012

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FIRE-FIGHTERS and safety officials were kept on their toes outside the National Stadium on Monday's Independence Day to ensure order.


Inside was a completely different scene with fireworks and attendant pyrotechnics lighting as pomp and pageantry of the Jamaica 50 Grand Gala was in full flight.


Inside the 50-year-old facility (that was officially opened in 1962 to coincide with the country's independence), thousands of Jamaicans became a sea of black, green and gold. And they all revelled in the best of the Jamaica's achievements in its music, cultural and artistic expressions.


The flag-waving capacity sized crowd was jubilant throughout the jubilee festivities showcasing some rich, colourful and delightful presentations which evoked of memories of some of our cultural icons in performing arts.


Faith D'Aguilar did a stint in tribute to the Mother of Jamaican culture, Louise Bennett-Coverley.


The National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), co-founded by the late professor/dancer Rex Nettleford, did Gerrehbenta.


Other pieces came from Barbara McDaniel, Amanyda Stine and Roberta Daley.


A remarkably standout was the Femme Fatales of the Jamaica Defence Force.


Then there was the highly impressive Mass Speech Choir of 100 voices from various schools, a combined church choir of 200 voices, the 40 piece orchestra directed by Peter Ashbourne and Michael Shaun Harris.


There was also performances from Romain Virgo, Tessanne Chin, Tifa, Karen Smith, Tony Rebel, Leroy Sibbles, this year's Festival Song winner Abbygaye Dallas as well as former winners Roy Rayon and Eric Donaldson. The five-hour long jubilation culminated in a spectacle of fireworks.


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