Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Gala pales to previous years

Published:Friday | August 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Grace in movement and expression, which was typical of the evening. - Photos by Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
The men in uniform beat a merry tattoo on their drums.
Colourful costumes were the order of the Grand Gala.
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Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

With the $57 million spent on this year's staging of the Independence Grand Gala still fresh in the minds of many Jamaicans, the view that the event could have been better echoed throughout the National Stadium on Wednesday evening. While many persons turned up to witness the spectacle to commemorate 52 years of Independence, by the end, many were left disappointed, having hoped for more.

The over 2,500 persons who were a part of the evening's entertainment package doubtlessly put out their best efforts, but with comparisons being made to previous celebrations, their best was simply not good enough for the audience.

When The Gleaner team moved through the crowd, and from the bleachers to the grandstand, many patrons were busy reminiscing on previous years or making suggestions to pay attention to what was happening on stage.

To be fair to organisers, there were a few moments that stood out. The audience particularly enjoyed the motorcade, as well as the brief performances from some of the music industry's best. Performances from Etana and Agent Sasco ignited the audience - if only for the period they were on stage. Delivering the lyrics to some of their most popular songs, the entertainers did a good job of keeping the audience awake and alert.

Reinvented Rosie

Popular character Rosie was reinvented on the night, to create another of the few highlights. Rosie's character was birthed last year after a news bite showed her protesting for her rights in a comical way that held the attention of many Jamaicans. The brief skit showed a talented actress embodying Rosie's character, as she spoke about being thrown out of church. Members of the audience was glued to the stage, as they soaked up every bit of that action.

Another highlight of the night came when Prime Minister The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller was called upon to make special presentations to two outstanding Jamaican entertainers. Freddie McGregor and Marcia Griffiths were the recipients of these awards, as they were again honoured for their significant contribution to the music industry.

McGregor is celebrating 52 years, while Griffiths is celebrating her 50th. Both awardees took to the stage towards the end of the evening to provide the closing performances.

Ska group, The Skatalites, were also awarded for their contribution to music. Winston 'Sparrow' Martin was given the duty of accepting on their behalf.