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Carnival in ‘Purple’

 After a hiatus of the past two Carnival Seasons, because of family constraints, the well-known junior Carnival Band produced since 2001 by the  three Inniss sisters Terry-Ann, Christine and Elizabeth under the “Spoilt Rotten Kids” banner, will present its 12th band — The Colour Purple — at the Junior Carnival competitions in 2014. The first of which takes place at St Anthony’s College on February 16. 

Always in the small-band category, with just a couple of medium-sized presentations, the sisters explain that “the band has never gone up to ‘large’ as we work and this is a labour of love, also it is a lot to manage when you try to get a family atmosphere and keep control.” Yet the band itself has consistently been judged Mini Band of the Year, has also received the Spirit of Carnival award, has had its fair share of winners in individual categories, and numerous finalists in the national junior kings and queens competitions. While the eldest SRK sister, designer Terry Ann Inniss-Roach, has won the Designer of the Year award three times.

The two other sisters are Christine Inniss-Nunes — band leader and Elizabeth Inniss, who handles promotions. This year the founders have added two young upcoming mas-producing aspirants to the committee, Megan Nunes, Queen of the junior band many times, and Anthony O-Brien, both of whom are expected to bring continuation, and fresh, new ideas to the band. 

The story goes, that the sisters were liming with each other one Friday afternoon 13 years ago and decided  as the original Spoilt Rotten Kids which they admit to having been, to  bring out their own junior band by the same name, having always been involved in ‘the mas’ from childhood. On reflection, the threesome admit: “We thought it was just a matter of a seamstress sewing some costumes…But it was an education in building a costume. We quickly learned that backpacks and other things like collars and headpieces have to be made specially, and then our work starts with decorating and finishing the items once we get them back from the builder.”

“Research starts immediately after the end of the previous year’s Carnival season and it takes a lot of planning”, says Christine. “The designer chooses a theme, researches and submits drawings to a committee of four which includes my husband Brian. A costume is redesigned until we get it right and everybody says okay….the crew has worked through the night pulling down a costume which did not satisfy the designer on its first appearance and putting it back together for the next day’s competition.”

 Terry-Ann, a graduate interior designer explains: “You can draw the most beautiful piece, then take it to a wirebender and questions start with minor adjustments being made for the comfort of the children. We have to keep in mind availability of materials, accessories and nowadays need to go online and find items which are unavailable here, but I have no problems matching materials to what is in my mind from the two local large Carnival suppliers of material, and so the majority of our purchasing is done locally. I like to buy my fabric here so if it runs out there are no problems.”

Sponsorship is very difficult for children’s mas as it cannot be alcohol or cigarettes, but the ‘Kids’ have various kind sponsors who have stuck with them through the years with banners, T-shirts and drinks/snacks for competitions as they try to provide everything for the children and also parents who need not worry about moving larger costumes and standards.  Simple things like pins, hairclips, glue, are all available in the band’s utility kit, as sometimes at every venue broken costumes have to be mended. “Everything is planned and fine-tuned to the last detail, including the meeting places for every venue because members have to be able to find you especially we are dealing with small children” says the band leader.

The six sections of The Colour Purple are Grapes (girls/boys), Octopus, Dragon Fly, Frog, Fighter Fish and Sea Horse. Why “purple”?

“The designer saw the beauty of purple in all forms of nature and tried something different…with thoughts of royalty and peace.” There has only been a soft launch on Facebook under Spoilt Rotten Kids.

The band is now open for registration  through calling Christine at 757-8484, 221-5735 or Anthony 460-4517 and at the Maraval mas camp.

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