Students to perform in Junkanoo Rush Parade

Sacha Martin, a Junkanoo Event Coordinator, reported to Historic City News that students have been making costumes in order to perform in the Junkanoo Rush Parade in the Plaza for the Bahamian Island Junkanoo Celebration on Saturday May 16th.

Kids ages 5 to 11 in the Artist Cultural Education (ACE) arts program which is sponsored by the St. Johns Cultural Council and is a part of the Kids Safe Zone Program have been meeting after school at American Legion Post 194 in West Augustine.

Earlier this year, the older ARTS Program kids constructed goat skin drums, rake and scrape instruments, and musical calabash gourds. This is traditional West African music, but is also the music of the Bahamian carnival Junkanoo.

It was only natural that they make Junkanoo costumes which are made from cardboard and crepe paper with dazzling trims. They have decorated colorful head dresses and sea turtles to wear in front for their proud performance. Helping them carry the drums in the parade will be Christian Sun Codd, a local drumming guru, who brought drum construction to them.

Anyone can join in the Junkanoo Rush. Be certain to bring your camera to capture the glorious prize winning costumes.

The kids will be “rushing” in the parade which starts at 3 pm in the Plaza and goes to and from portions of St. George Street. They will be joined by Junkanoo performers from Abaco, Bahamas, Miami and Orlando. They are coming early so they can be at the opening ceremonies by 1:00, get to meet the professional rushers, hear the live Bahamian music, taste some real conch salad, and get to see the tuning of the goat skin drums about 2:30. The event goes from 1:00 to 7:00 pm. There will be a second parade rush at 5:30 pm.

Kids Safe Zone and the Artist Cultural Education Program provide an after school place where kids learn character building, getting their grades to go up, and a sense of accomplishment. For more information cantact Safe Zone director Doretha Smith, 824-9726, ACE coordinator Nancy Christensen, 392-8318.

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