Black Immigrant Daily News
D’Ashe Saul performs during the inaugural Tobago Day song competition last Friday. – THA PHOTOS
Ten-year-old D’Ashe Saul of Parlatuvier Anglican Primary School was lost for words when he was crowned winner of the inaugural Tobago Day Song Competition in the primary school category.
The competition, in two categories – secondary and primary – was hosted by the THA Division of Education, Research and Technology – Curriculum Planning and Development Unit in recognition of the 42nd anniversary of the assembly. It took place at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex last Friday.
The eight finalists – five representing the primary-school level and three from secondary schools – had to perform a song highlighting positive aspects of Tobago’s culture and heritage.
Saul, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and a blue fedora hat, no stranger to the stage, told Newsday: “I didn’t expect it.”
“I feel – I cannot explain – so happy, so happy.”
His song Sweet Hand, written by noted Tobago educator and 2021 national award recipient Dr Verleen Bobb-Lewis, scored 90 points.
Competitors alonsgide (from left, back row) Division of Education curiculum co-ordinator Nadine John-St Rose, Education Secretary Zorisha Hackett and Administrator Diane Baker-Henry at last Friday’s inaugural Tobago Day song competition. – THA PHOTOS
It conveyed one message: “That Tobago have the best sweet hand than any other island.”
The standard five student said: “It was challenging – it took me an hour and a half to learn it.”
Last month Saul won the Tobago carnival junior monarch title.
In second place was Brielle Baldeo of the Scarborough Methodist Primary School. Daniah Mohammed settled for the third spot.
In the secondary schools category, with 88 points, Scarborough Secondary’s student Nataki Thompson emerged winner
She said: “I am feeling great. I am very happy; I am very proud and grateful for this opportunity.”
Her song, Celebrate Tobago, was written by her music teacher at school, Marina Marfan.
“My song basically says that we should just celebrate Tobago, appreciate it – it’s just to appreciate Tobago.
“It took me about two weeks to learn. It was very challenging at first, but I got used to it and performed it to the best of my ability.”
In second place was Olu Holder, also of the Scarborough Secondary School, with Signal Hill Secondary’s Clorysa Gill taking the third spot.
The judges were LesleyAnn Ellis, Eric Powder and Jeremiah Combie.
Nataki Thompson performs during the inaugural Tobago Day Song Competition last Friday – THA PHOTOS
THA Secretary in the Division, Assemblyman Zorisha Hackett, congratulating the students, said they should all be commended.
She said the division is dedicated to providing students with the opportunities that lead to their holistic growth and development.
“Expressing oneself in song has been a part of who we have been for centuries, and I must again commend you students for taking up the challenge.”
She outlined numerous career opportunities in music and the performing arts.
“Opportunities exist in the entire value chain, from production, directing, songwriting, to the actual performances and even in related industries such as the production of music equipment. Students, I therefore encourage those of you with the talent and interest in this area to pursue them relentlessly.”
Listing performers like Calypso Rose, Mighty Shadow, Lord Nelson, Adana Roberts and Shurwayne Winchester, she pointed out: “Our history as an island is replete with personalities who have made their mark in these areas and continue to reap huge benefits for their contributions.”