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Barbara Mason, Steelband Coordinator of Antigua and Barbuda - In the Spotlight


 

Steelband Coordinator Barbara Mason

St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda -  Barbara Mason is the Steel Band Coordinator in the Cultural Development Division in Antigua and Barbuda.  She is tremendously committed to the progress of youth talent arts.  When Steel Talks conducted an exclusive interview with this cultural officer who is instrumental in the phenomenon of Antigua and Barbuda’s Youth Pan Orchestra as one of the best in the region.

As a cultural officer: “what we try to do is scout for talent in the various disciplines” says Barbara Mason.  They are on the lookout to see how they can assist their youthful resources in maximizing the most of their artistic talents.  Ms. Mason has always been involved in organizing and producing cultural events even while she was working in the private sector.  She realized that this was something she really loved and subsequently pursued - making it a full time endeavor.

Ms. Mason joined the Cultural Development Division in 1994.  She has been the steelband coordinator for over twelve years now. Her main focus is the school system.  There is now pan in twelve schools in the twin-island country, along with a junior panorama centered on the schools’ participation.  The best of these school participants have chosen to perform in the Antigua and Barbuda National Youth Pan Orchestra.  Furthermore, a lot of the students are taking CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) exams with the steelpan as their instrument of choice.

Ms. Mason’s biggest challenge continues to be securing sufficient funding from the private sector to bridge the financial gaps.  In spite of this, her commitment to the youth is unwavering as she tries to secure college scholarships for her exceptionally talented young artists.  “Turn your hobbies into careers,” Ms. Mason tells her students - all of whom she watches over with a maternal eye - as a  means of motivating them to transform their passions into professions.

This dedicated coordinator also played a significant role in producing one of the most comprehensive publications on the history and current status of the steelpan art form in Antigua and Barbuda.  The color publication is called “In Tune with Pan.”

Contact Ms. Mason - cultureconnect@candw.ag  |  Tel:  1 (268) 562-1724


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