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
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.”
Ms. Mason -
firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 1 (268) 562-1724