Glendon Morris Speaks

Individual of the year 2005
Individual of the year 2005

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We do the Traditional mas Reporters
Interview Recorded: April 25, 2005
Posted: May 15, 2005

We have dominated the small band category. We win every year and that is because of what we do - which is the traditional mas. As a matter of fact, Ash Wednesday morning, with all the mas that was in town, what was pleasing to me, was when I got up, the first thing I heard was George Umbala (whom I know very well), excitedly talking about our band playing mas, even though he didn't know who made the mas. It was my section, 'Yuletide Cuisine' designed by Frankie Nelson, and all the hats were done in this yard. My costume had a leg of ham, turkey, a leg of pork, cake, sweetbread, apples and grapes. Those were the kinds of headpieces we carried. Of course it was very much appreciated. When we passed in front of the judges they had no choice but to give us first place, because there wasn't anybody to compete with that kind of presentation.

The categories are wide open now, except that we have about five or six bands that parade in the fancy sailor category. Then we have the sailor category, which is like All Stars and Despers and all the bands that play sailors, but they do not play fancy sailor. We do not compete with the sailors alone; we compete with all bands that are small, like the Indian bands and so on. The small category is three hundred people and our band is approximately two hundred people, which means that we are right in that category. One of the things they call our band is the geriatric band, because obviously young people are not going to come and play mas with us. You will gain some and you will lose some; some will die because they are aged people playing mas and some will graduate, so we keep that average of two hundred. We have lost members from here and we have gained members also, so we keep that balance of about two hundred.

With my artistic talents I would kind of go over board with my designs. The last year we played 'Golden Memories'; things fifty years ago that you used to see. My band is a small band, so I have just about six or eight characters plus some floor members in my section. Of course I came up with my ideas for "Things You Used To See", like a guy with a roller and a stick, a police and thief, an actual police holding a guy who is trying to get away with a fowl in his hands, and tourist Annie. One of the interesting costumes was with the girl who won individual of the year 2005. Her costume was much simpler this year, but it was very effective. That was the costume with the cake, the sweetbread and the pastel. It was really nice. I tried to make it real, except that it was so big, you could have seen it from a mile away. Last year she played "The Days Of Wine and Roses." If you can remember the old Charlie's wine, well I had a big bottle of Charlie's wine with a champagne glass and roses right around. These are the kinds of ideas you have to do to get people's attention and bring back a little life in the mas. It was well received. The tourists were swarming us to get pictures. They must have been glad to see something other than the bikini and beads whole day. As a matter of fact we are having a meeting next week to decide what we are going to play for next year. It was always interesting, and we try to keep that in Carnival.

We have seven sections in our band and this year, 2005, is our twelfth year. We started around 1978. The band looks forward to seeing us because of the difference in what we try to create with the mas, and still keeping my father's Carnival tradition from in the old days. If you know the history of Carnival, it was a very small community in those days. When I say small community, all the bandleaders sort of knew each other and they interacted with each other. They would come and they would watch the mas and try to go back and copy it. People used to have to actually try to close their gates and hide their mas, because they didn't want their competitors to see what they were doing. I remember even when I started to play mas it was still like that. Whenever my friends came around, I used to push my mas under the bed. And when they ask me what I was doing, I used to say, "nothing I just hanging," and when they leave I will just pull it out and continue working. It was like that. Now nobody cares; tourists everybody walking into the mas camps - and besides, most of them playing the same thing anyway. It was very competitive.


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