Mélange Travel & Lifestyle Magazine April 2016 - Page 89

If one isn’t vigilant, their life story may be sung on the streets by the local Shortknee Band. During the month of July, their practice sessions take place at night when the villagers are all asleep. As one proud female band member explained, the band gathers at the base of Hermitage hill and journey upwards toward the mountain, singing, dancing and perfecting their performance for the big competition day. Villagers are usually jolted out of sleep by the sound of the belled feet and melodious chanting, ears straining to hear who they’re singing about this year. “I hope it’s not about me”, they whisper to themselves, fearfully. The big day arrives and members don costumes and make their way to the city of St. George’s where the competition takes place. En route, they chant and sing through some of the villages, then travel by bus the rest of t he way into the city. Each band is given time to perform their song on stage, during which time their performance is judged by a panel. Win or lose, it is an energizing, fun-filled experience for all participants. On Carnival Tuesday afternoon, many villages are given a special treat by the Shortknee bands as they weave their way through the streets, bringing the festivities to a close. Andy says what he enjoys most about the Shortknee experience is the friendly rivalry among the various bands – theirs is the band to beat because they are the best, he says. Yes, he is proud of his band’s accomplishments over the years and even more so because of the contribution they make to the village of Hermitage. In addition to funding the children of Hermitage’s participation in the Island’s Kiddies Carnival, Andy visits 5 schools in the area, teaching them about the history of Shortknee. Most importantly, when his band wins the Carnival Competition, their prize money is used to purchase school supplies for the children in the village. Hermitage Shortknee Band is definitely keeping Shortknee alive! 85