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YOUTH BRING NINE MORNINGS FESTIVAL ALIVE

YOUTH BRING NINE MORNINGS FESTIVAL ALIVE

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Tomorrow, Saturday 24th will be the 9th day of the Nine Mornings Festivities and the last opportunity this year to partake of this tradition that is uniquely Vincentian. From all appearances, organizers and sponsors will be pleased that their efforts have paid off, despite the rumblings of political victimization that threatened to sour the festivities.{{more}}

A wide cross-section of society has been coming out in large numbers since activities began on December 16: from pastors to politicians, children to cyclists, mummies to musicians, vendors to visitors. The atmosphere is like no other.

The main hub of activities is in Kingstown, but according to Treasurer of the Nine Mornings Committee, Lennox Bowman, the activities in the rural areas like Rose Bank and Carriere are “where the real action is,” and well worth the visit.

The crowd builds steadily from a few dozen at 4 a.m to about five hundred at 6 a.m. when it is at its largest. Tomorrow’s crowd however, is expected to be much bigger. Generally, everyone stands peacefully in the cool, early-morning air. The absence of rowdy, intoxicated individuals and persons jostling their way through the crowd is refreshing.

The vendors come prepared with traditional breakfast fare. They do a brisk trade in fresh, peeled fruit like oranges and golden apple, and bakes, saltfish cakes and “cocoa tea”.

Each morning, the proceedings begin with prayers led by church groups from around the country. Unlike many other public events, the inclusion of religion does not end with the opening prayer. A quick perusal of the official Nine Mornings program will reveal the strong religious content of each morning’s activity. As a result, many devout Christians feel comfortable taking an active part in this aspect of their culture. There are none of the excesses which tend to make the more conservative among us shy away from other cultural festivals.

What also immediately strikes a casual observer is the youthful makeup of the crowd. A rough estimate puts the number of persons under 16 years of age on a given morning at about 60% of those present. This augurs well for the tradition. The snugly dressed youngsters come out accompanied by their parents and grandparents. With expressions of excitement and anticipation, they edge to get closer and closer to the stage, hoping for the opportunity to perform and win a prize. Part of the excitement too, must result from the fact that they are out of the house at a time when they would not normally be allowed to.

The daily programs are a carefully blended mixture of song, dance and instrumental performances, punctuated by competitions involving the audience, and jokes skillfully delivered by hardworking master of ceremony and Chairman of the Nine Mornings Committee, Michael Peters.

Performances this year came from a wide array of groups and individuals. This year’s lineup included the Tobago Cultural Group, which made the trip to St. Vincent just for Nine Mornings. Tomorrow’s climax begins at 4 a.m. and will see performances by cultural icons, Carlton ‘C.P.’ Hall and Glenroy ‘Sulle’ Caesar, as well as groups including La Gracia Dancers, Hairoun Theatre Company, the New Kingstown Chorale and the Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra.

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