Glendon Morris Speaks

Mural at Nestle - Made by Glendon Morris
Mural at Nestle - Made by Glendon Morris

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Play mas that people understand Reporters
Interview Recorded: April 25, 2005
Posted: May 15, 2005

The section leaders would do their own costumes. We have a designer who is Frankie Nelson. He would do the designs for the band and we would tell him what we want to play depending what our portrayal is. He would then design to suit us and everybody would take their pictures and do their own thing, but in keeping with what the theme is, of course. We try not to stray. One of the things that I included in the paper for the lecture I will be doing in St. Vincent concerns the bandleaders. They should play mas that people understand. The worst thing is for a judge to sit down and try to figure out what it is they are playing. They should portray something that people understand. You will get more points; you will be in the winning row.

I will give you an example. Last year when we played 'Golden Memories - Things We Used To See', a guy played a postcard, one big postcard towering up in the air with a set of flowers on it. It doesn't relate. A postcard is something you see all the time; it is an everyday thing. This year we played 'Yuletide', and one guy played "a child is born," and that is fine. It sounds good, but when we saw the portrayal it was like, where is the child? Imagine he had a little picture of 'The Child of a Virgin Mary' and a little baby stuck up inside somewhere. I was not seeing a manger; I was not even seeing the child. A few guys just have a tendency to go off so you have to kind of keep them in focus. We had characters like 'Drummer Boy', which was very appropriate. We had 'The Hat I Got For Christmas and a Parang side. They were things that related to Christmas. What I am saying here is, those are the things that are going to result at the end of a judge's pen. When they score you, they will score with a decent score because they will enjoy what they are seeing. They will relate to it, but not if they have to twist their heads and wonder what it is they are looking at. They may say, "Well it not too bad, I will give them a five." mas should not be like that, it must have impact when you come on the stage.

When I used to lecture to judges in U.W.I., I would always say create the oohs' and the aahs' like, "Oh boy look at that." The lasting impression the judges are going to get when you approach the stage will stay with them. I remember Earl Patterson coming into the office and saying to me, "Glendon I want to know why Big Mike beat me, look at my costume, look at what I played." I told him that I would go and get the score sheets and show it to him. I went through the score sheets before he saw it, and I noticed that something was lacking in his presentation and something was gaining in Big Mike's presentation. Big Mike was gaining on 'impact'. With Earl and them it was a little geriatric band, and they went on stage half dead. With Big Mike and them now, they storm on stage with plenty energy and all his flags. That is what edited Earl and them into second place. We have a criterion to use.

I have practically studied mas and it has a lot of aspects. I know it not from now, but from the earlier days as a child. I have seen presentations in Carnival and I would tell people that whether or not it is Pan, mas or Calypso, I have the attitude to know what is good and what is not good. My father used to always say, "is either something is good or it is not good." He hated the words good enough. He used to block his ears and would look sideways because he did not want to hear the words "good enough". For him, something was either good, or it was not good.

For instance, the smallest costume that appeared on stage this year, 2005, for Dimanche Gras, won Queen of the Bands because of the impact the costume created. The costume was a butterfly. I worked with the lighting technician the night of the show and we had a list of what will be required. Most of the people with the costumes do not give you what lighting or sounds to use, so we would choose an appropriate light or sound for them. We experiment with the costume. I asked Pamela Gordon, the Queen who won that night, what kind of lights she wanted and she told me to just light it; to do anything I wanted to do and use any sound, it doesn't matter. I told her she was very modest and that everybody had something. She told me that she didn't want anything in particular... to just do my best. I remember sitting there, and when she came on stage, I asked the lighting technician if he was seeing what was happening. The costume took every light, whether we had put it on green or blue. It was a ray of colours just changing on stage; it was fantastic the way the beautiful butterfly was just crystallizing. It was the most beautiful costume, and Pamela carried it with a kind of gracefulness like a butterfly, she was just gliding.


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