The third year of the School Soca Monarch has taken an approach that points it more as a school based activity thus creating a more positive conception.
The Ministry of Culture held a press conference on Monday to outline the changes being made to the competition to be held at the Taanteen Hard Court on July 2 from 2.00 p.m within school hours.
The major change is that the competition has been extended to Primary School students within the ages of 8 to 18 and as a result, the finalists have been increased from 12 to 20.
Chief Cultural Officer in the Ministry, Thomas Matthew told reporters that the reason for this change is due to the large number of students registering to take part in the competition.
“We’ve had almost 300% increase in registration and this year we have had over 50 persons registering – we have held two semifinals, one in St Patrick and one in St George’s,” he said.
According to Matthew, 19 persons including the reigning monarch Nathan Johnson from the Presentation Brothers College have been selected from the semi finals to compete in the finals.
Apart from the Presentation Brothers College, 10 schools have been selected for the finals – Mc Donald College, St Rose Modern Secondary, St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary, Grenada Boys Secondary, Boca Secondary,
St Marks Secondary, Happy Hill Secondary, Bishop’s College and Hillsborough Secondary in Carriacou.
Matthew said that one student from a primary school did register but did not advance to the finals.
The competition is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and Sunshine Promotion.
Matthew announced that in an effort to attract greater interest in the competition, the Ministry along with Sunshine Promotions would be doing an early bird special on tickets for students who want to attend the event at the cost of $5.
The official cost of the ticket is $10 for students in uniform and $15 for adults.
The Culture official pointed out that the organizers intend to work closely with the schools in the sale of the “early birds” tickets for the competition.
“The schools will make the request, they will tell us the number of persons that would like to come out to support the individuals representing their schools and we’ll send the tickets to the schools,” he said.
“…We are considering having a special prize for the school that has the largest support for their finalists. We are encouraging schools to encourage large numbers of students, similar to that of the Drum Corp to come out and support”, he added.
Matthew is guaranteeing a high quality of songs and music from the students on the day of the competition.
“…We can guarantee you that the product that you will be receiving will be graduating to the national competition within no time at all…”, he told reporters.
CEO of Sunshine Promotions, Ian “Judah” St Bernard is calling for a high level of support for the students as they prepare to showcase their talents.
“The youths are the future and if we want them to have a bright future, they need the encouragement and when the music gets to the radio station, we need them to promote it, play it a lot, so the youth can hear themselves and the public can hear it and will come and support the event,” he said.
St. Bernard is optimistic that the students who take part in the schools soca monarch competition will have a bright future ahead of them.
“Grenada is a place full of talent and music is part of us. We don’t own a music like reggae but I know music is part of us, so the youths could have a good future out of this, whether it’s Hip Hop Calypso or whatever, it’s music, so I’m very glad to be a part of this,” he added.