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St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The National Carnival Committee continues to roll out its restructuring plans for Sugar Mas 46, this time the change applies to the Senior Calypso Competition.
Instead of the usual two bands, Grandmasters Proud Sounds and Legends providing musical accompaniment for calypsonians, there will be one band for all competitors- an All-star Band comprised of members from Proud Sounds and Legends.

“Now since its inception of our carnival administration we were giving serious consideration toward moving to an All-star band and again this is a collection of arguably the best musicians playing each instrument from the time the competition starts. It’s one band playing for at the start, 40 calypsonians lets say in elimination, then it’s one band playing for 16 then it’s one band playing for eight in the finals” Mills said.

This year a new band has been registered for calypso, Chromatic Brass, which would have meant three sets of change-overs during eliminations, semifinals and finals.

“We would have known for many, many, years that there are two main bands that provide musical accompaniment for the respective calypsonians, in the likes of Legends Band and Proud Sound. Now those two bands would have kept their individual tents and of course calypsonians have the right to register with whichever band they would like to perform with. Now this year there is an addition of an extra band in the likes of Chromatic Brass so it means then, this year Sugar Mas 46, we’ll be seeing three bands, three different sets of tents, hence, three clusters of calypsonians. One set performing with Proud Sound, one set performing with Legends and one set performing with Chromatic Brass.”

The Chairman spoke to the benefits of having one band instead of three different bands providing music for the calypso shows this year.

“From the audience standpoint it eliminates the waiting time for example for some other musical functions you would see when bands and artistes have this change over time. At times that could be very, very, extended and the audience is kept there waiting before the next band to the next artist comes on stage so that will be totally eliminated. So we have the smooth run sheet of the show one artiste after the other artiste so the audience will benefit. Now in terms of the individual calypsonian they will also benefit as well, because what you would now have is a fair playing field because some calypsonians might argue that they are choosing one band and some are left with another band and there is some difference between the band and the musician, well in this case now it’s one playing field. All of them are provided music by top talented, rated number one, in each area of music and that’s what we are providing the calypsonians.

"Of course there are other benefits in that we are able to control costs because the Carnival Committee insists that all parties will be treated fairly. However with now three bands in the fray it would mean that the same sort of expenses would be incurred times three and that will put some financial strains on the Carnival Committee, so we have to come up with a financial model that is amicable and amenable to all of the parties involved and we think this All-star model would best serve all of the stakeholders needs.”

According to Mills, the Carnival Committee has met with the leaders of the bands, whom he says embraced the changed, however there has been no formal communications with calypsonians as yet.

“Now we have been meeting jointly and individual with the bands, we’ve had two meetings already with the calypsonian bands involved and they are on board. We are meeting to decide on the structure of the All-star band for example which instrument/musician will come from let’s say Proud Sound, which one will come from Legends and which will come from Chromatic Brass. …We are ironing it out with the bands and then the bands of course will act as one set of mouthpieces for us and then we’ll move towards the general meeting where we will invite the calypsonians and present the new model that will be implemented.”

The individual bands will continue to be responsible for their own tents with the Carnival Committee subsidizing some tents and fully funding others.