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Festival 2014/15 Queen and King  

Montserrat Festival Queen Show 2014

by Cleo Cassell

 

Jan 15, 2015 – The December chill cloaked me as I keenly stepped into the gates of Festival Village, on Sunday, December 28, 2014 around 7:30 p.m., to one of the most anticipated shows of the festival, the queen show.  DSC_1735However, I wasn’t worried about the weather threatening to spoil my plans because unlike previous years there was absolutely no sign of rain.  The crowd had not yet arrived, so making my way to the seated area was seamless.  I was professionally ushered to my seat, and used the sparseness of the place to appreciate the design of the stage which was still under construction.

Illuminated streams of soft, lycra fabric in varying colours of red, yellow, blue and green, flowed from the ceiling lights creating a tent like effect that reminded me of that R. Kelly’s Arabian styled video Move Your Body Like a Snake.  At the time, I wasn’t sure what theme the organizers were going for.  The crowd began trickling in around 7:50 as my eyes wandered through the venue, the show beginning 30 minutes later than its advertised 8 p.m. start time.

DSC_1724 copyThe Montserrat Festival Queen Show began in the customary way with God Save the Queen (sung by Miss Nadia Browne), and the introduction of the Master of Ceremonies (MCs): Mrs. Veona Alexander-Smith and Mr. Warren Cassell.  Then Grecian looking inspired dancers escorted the queen contestants on stage.

DSC_1643 copyI straightened my back as the girls twirled their way out in costumes akin to belly dancers with golden braziers, and flared skirts made from a light material reflecting individual colours representing the sacrosanct theme of Building Pillars of Character (I later learnt). A strong theme for such frivolity I thought.

Forming the line from the left, was Contestant #1 Miss Tiffany Perkins (sponsored by MUL) wearing a yellow skirt, which represented the character trait of respect.   Miss LIME’s, Nikita Cabey didn’t skip a beat and joined the horizontal line as contestant #2.  Her colour was green, and stood for responsibility.  Contestant #3 – Miss Sharissa Ryan whirled in orange (characterizing fairness) was sponsored by Tradewinds Real Estate.  Contestant #4 Fatima Florian, Miss Technology and Business Specialists Ltd. was red; a colour embodying caring.  Miss Banika Bramble who was sponsored by MS Osborne Ltd., and wore a purple skirt signifying citizenship, ended the line.  The show was finally about to “begin” with the introductory segment which, to me, would set the tone for the rest of the show.

DSC_1590 copyDSC_1621 copy   Perhaps nerves kicked in because contestants 1 and 2 forgot some of their introductory speeches and contestant number 5, Fatima Florian spoke as if she was out of breathe.  However, contestants 3 and 5 were composed and exuded confidence.  Bramble, in particular, did not rush her introduction and her animated voice kept my interest.

However, the swimwear segment was more exciting despite contestant #1’s swimwear malfunction.  Luckily, the other girls got a better fit, but it was Cheryl Cassell-Cabey’s designs that really stood out for me.  Cassell-Cabey was able to accentuate Florian’s complexion and curvy shape in her pink swimwear, just as with Bramble’s golden swimwear.  They fit perfectly and could rival any readymade garb.

Likewise, the talent segment also had its ups and downs, but here contestant  #3, Miss Sharissa Ryan sparkled, like her top, in her violin piece entitled “Love’s Symphony”.  It was like nothing I had ever witnessed before at a queen show, and was nothing less than “real” talent.  At the end of her performance I felt a bit sad because Ryan’s piece, in a sense, exposed the weakness of our own system which allows the arts to rot and fester.  Perhaps if the arts were nurtured and encouraged in Montserrat we’d see excellent expositions in the “talent” segment.   However, though Florian’s dance to Alicia Keys’  “Superwoman” was a bit sluggish it began to change my mood.  It stood out because so many stereotypes are ascribed to the Dominican woman.  Her presentation seemed to be saying that “I am more than what I have been labelled.”

DSC_1627 copyBramble’s dramatical piece on mental health, though serious, also lightened the atmosphere.  Her look and exacting depiction of a woman who “tripped out” after her husband left her (for milk and honey) added humour to the piece.  I don’t think I speak for myself here when I say Bramble was engaging.  She asked the crowd questions which got amusing responses from the audience.  Despite the amusement, at the end of the skit it made me think compassionately about what the mentally challenged go through and what might have triggered their break down.  In spite of this dazzling attempt, the refinement of the violin resonated.  It was the kind of elegance found in the evening wear section.

DSC_1611 copyPerkin’s “Cupid’s Garden” was cut in an outlined rhinestone off the shoulder mermaid styled red dress.  A heart embellished in the front, from her waist down, and was interesting to look at.  However, the back of the dress was unflattering.

Cabey’s “Shades of Green” was different in comparison to the others.  The sparkling green hues – designed and made by Jackline Dublin of So Exquisite Boutique- complemented her skin and coupled with her up do reminded me of an Indian goddess.

Conversely, Ryan’s mermaid cut turquoise coloured dress, designed by another veteran, Ms. Jeweline Roberts, seemed plain.  Although, Florian’s carnation pink dress was nice, I had seen that embedded crystal into an evening wear look before.

However, Bramble’s Calvin S design was riotous and red.  Jewels encrusted the sleek mermaid design and when she turned to give a view of her toned back no one could honestly dispute that it fit perfectly.  Things were beginning to heat up even more.

In the question and answer section, contestants were given one minute to answer one general and one specific question.  It was in Perkin’s DSC_1595 copyresponse that I recognized that the contestants had been privy to the questions and had had the opportunity to be thoroughly prepared.  My scrutiny of their answers had become even harder.  Perkins forgot her prepared answer and was unable to adlib.

Cabey’s answer was too generalized and I found myself adding “why?” at the end of her answer.  Ryan’s answer was disappointing too, because unlike the other girls she could have had an edge in that she possesses a bachelor’s degree.  Her answer was somewhat short, and did not convince me that she had any plans for Montserrat to benefit from.

Florian had the benefit of a translator and I was glad to learn that living here allowed her to “speak (learn) English”.

Although Bramble’s response had more substance in that she clearly explained why mental health was a field she’d like to get into, she floundered with fluency and mastery of the language.

Overall, despite the late start, the show flowed agreeably and I was happy to hear Ben Durant serenade the girls shortly after the question and answer segment.  The results were commendably in by 11:30.

Miss Photogenic  went to Miss Tiffany Perkins; But it was Miss Sharissa Ryan. she clean swept and  got Miss Congeniality , Best Introductory Speech, Best Question and Answer, Best Talent  and Best Evening Wear.  Miss Nikita Cabey also got a best, and won the swimwear category.

By and large, the 2nd runner up went to Miss Nikita Cabey, 1st runner up to Miss Banika Bramble and the queen to Miss Sherissa Ryan.

see pics at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/203080105851/photos/a.10152636259605852.1073741995.203080105851/10152641173320852/?type=1&theater

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Montserrat Festival Queen Show 2014

by Cleo Cassell

 

Jan 15, 2015 – The December chill cloaked me as I keenly stepped into the gates of Festival Village, on Sunday, December 28, 2014 around 7:30 p.m., to one of the most anticipated shows of the festival, the queen show.  DSC_1735However, I wasn’t worried about the weather threatening to spoil my plans because unlike previous years there was absolutely no sign of rain.  The crowd had not yet arrived, so making my way to the seated area was seamless.  I was professionally ushered to my seat, and used the sparseness of the place to appreciate the design of the stage which was still under construction.

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Illuminated streams of soft, lycra fabric in varying colours of red, yellow, blue and green, flowed from the ceiling lights creating a tent like effect that reminded me of that R. Kelly’s Arabian styled video Move Your Body Like a Snake.  At the time, I wasn’t sure what theme the organizers were going for.  The crowd began trickling in around 7:50 as my eyes wandered through the venue, the show beginning 30 minutes later than its advertised 8 p.m. start time.

DSC_1724 copyThe Montserrat Festival Queen Show began in the customary way with God Save the Queen (sung by Miss Nadia Browne), and the introduction of the Master of Ceremonies (MCs): Mrs. Veona Alexander-Smith and Mr. Warren Cassell.  Then Grecian looking inspired dancers escorted the queen contestants on stage.

DSC_1643 copyI straightened my back as the girls twirled their way out in costumes akin to belly dancers with golden braziers, and flared skirts made from a light material reflecting individual colours representing the sacrosanct theme of Building Pillars of Character (I later learnt). A strong theme for such frivolity I thought.

Forming the line from the left, was Contestant #1 Miss Tiffany Perkins (sponsored by MUL) wearing a yellow skirt, which represented the character trait of respect.   Miss LIME’s, Nikita Cabey didn’t skip a beat and joined the horizontal line as contestant #2.  Her colour was green, and stood for responsibility.  Contestant #3 – Miss Sharissa Ryan whirled in orange (characterizing fairness) was sponsored by Tradewinds Real Estate.  Contestant #4 Fatima Florian, Miss Technology and Business Specialists Ltd. was red; a colour embodying caring.  Miss Banika Bramble who was sponsored by MS Osborne Ltd., and wore a purple skirt signifying citizenship, ended the line.  The show was finally about to “begin” with the introductory segment which, to me, would set the tone for the rest of the show.

DSC_1590 copyDSC_1621 copy   Perhaps nerves kicked in because contestants 1 and 2 forgot some of their introductory speeches and contestant number 5, Fatima Florian spoke as if she was out of breathe.  However, contestants 3 and 5 were composed and exuded confidence.  Bramble, in particular, did not rush her introduction and her animated voice kept my interest.

However, the swimwear segment was more exciting despite contestant #1’s swimwear malfunction.  Luckily, the other girls got a better fit, but it was Cheryl Cassell-Cabey’s designs that really stood out for me.  Cassell-Cabey was able to accentuate Florian’s complexion and curvy shape in her pink swimwear, just as with Bramble’s golden swimwear.  They fit perfectly and could rival any readymade garb.

Likewise, the talent segment also had its ups and downs, but here contestant  #3, Miss Sharissa Ryan sparkled, like her top, in her violin piece entitled “Love’s Symphony”.  It was like nothing I had ever witnessed before at a queen show, and was nothing less than “real” talent.  At the end of her performance I felt a bit sad because Ryan’s piece, in a sense, exposed the weakness of our own system which allows the arts to rot and fester.  Perhaps if the arts were nurtured and encouraged in Montserrat we’d see excellent expositions in the “talent” segment.   However, though Florian’s dance to Alicia Keys’  “Superwoman” was a bit sluggish it began to change my mood.  It stood out because so many stereotypes are ascribed to the Dominican woman.  Her presentation seemed to be saying that “I am more than what I have been labelled.”

DSC_1627 copyBramble’s dramatical piece on mental health, though serious, also lightened the atmosphere.  Her look and exacting depiction of a woman who “tripped out” after her husband left her (for milk and honey) added humour to the piece.  I don’t think I speak for myself here when I say Bramble was engaging.  She asked the crowd questions which got amusing responses from the audience.  Despite the amusement, at the end of the skit it made me think compassionately about what the mentally challenged go through and what might have triggered their break down.  In spite of this dazzling attempt, the refinement of the violin resonated.  It was the kind of elegance found in the evening wear section.

DSC_1611 copyPerkin’s “Cupid’s Garden” was cut in an outlined rhinestone off the shoulder mermaid styled red dress.  A heart embellished in the front, from her waist down, and was interesting to look at.  However, the back of the dress was unflattering.

Cabey’s “Shades of Green” was different in comparison to the others.  The sparkling green hues – designed and made by Jackline Dublin of So Exquisite Boutique- complemented her skin and coupled with her up do reminded me of an Indian goddess.

Conversely, Ryan’s mermaid cut turquoise coloured dress, designed by another veteran, Ms. Jeweline Roberts, seemed plain.  Although, Florian’s carnation pink dress was nice, I had seen that embedded crystal into an evening wear look before.

However, Bramble’s Calvin S design was riotous and red.  Jewels encrusted the sleek mermaid design and when she turned to give a view of her toned back no one could honestly dispute that it fit perfectly.  Things were beginning to heat up even more.

In the question and answer section, contestants were given one minute to answer one general and one specific question.  It was in Perkin’s DSC_1595 copyresponse that I recognized that the contestants had been privy to the questions and had had the opportunity to be thoroughly prepared.  My scrutiny of their answers had become even harder.  Perkins forgot her prepared answer and was unable to adlib.

Cabey’s answer was too generalized and I found myself adding “why?” at the end of her answer.  Ryan’s answer was disappointing too, because unlike the other girls she could have had an edge in that she possesses a bachelor’s degree.  Her answer was somewhat short, and did not convince me that she had any plans for Montserrat to benefit from.

Florian had the benefit of a translator and I was glad to learn that living here allowed her to “speak (learn) English”.

Although Bramble’s response had more substance in that she clearly explained why mental health was a field she’d like to get into, she floundered with fluency and mastery of the language.

Overall, despite the late start, the show flowed agreeably and I was happy to hear Ben Durant serenade the girls shortly after the question and answer segment.  The results were commendably in by 11:30.

Miss Photogenic  went to Miss Tiffany Perkins; But it was Miss Sharissa Ryan. she clean swept and  got Miss Congeniality , Best Introductory Speech, Best Question and Answer, Best Talent  and Best Evening Wear.  Miss Nikita Cabey also got a best, and won the swimwear category.

By and large, the 2nd runner up went to Miss Nikita Cabey, 1st runner up to Miss Banika Bramble and the queen to Miss Sherissa Ryan.

see pics at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/203080105851/photos/a.10152636259605852.1073741995.203080105851/10152641173320852/?type=1&theater