GEORGETOWN, Exuma, The Bahamas — March 2nd, 2023 marked the return of the highly-anticipated, post-COVID-19 opening day of the E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival on the Island of Exuma.
The long-awaited face-to-face performances began that day at St. Andrew’s Hall in Georgetown, Exuma. The performance featured students from L.N. Coakley High School; St. Andrew’s Anglican School, Exuma Christian Academy, Rolleville Primary School, and Roker’s Point Primary School.
The Division of Culture, led my Acting Director of Culture Dereka Deleveaux-Grant, begins preparations for the Festival in October of each year by choosing set pieces for musical instruments ranging from Piano to Violin, and Trumpet to Recorder. Drama pieces are also chosen and made available online for possible entrants around the country. Visual Arts, voice and other aspects of cultural expression are adjudicated, too.
The Festival started in 1959, and is truly national in scope, as all participants compete against each other throughout the Islands of The Bahamas.
Senior Cultural Affairs Officer and Organizing Secretary Ms. Sonovia Pierre stated that her team chose pieces and had meetings and workshops with Ministry of Education officials, principals and performing art teachers around the country to encourage and prepare them for the Festival.
Like the rest of the world, the National Arts Festival was cut short in March of 2020, due to the global Covid-19 Pandemic. Although the festival was held digitally during 2021 and 2022, there is ” nothing like sharing of energy and being on stage in front of your peers to perform”, said Ms. Pierre.
The team will travel to Abaco for adjudications the week of March 6; and then on to New Providence the following week.
All performances are free to the public and persons are invited to attend and encourage the performers. For island schedule and entry information about The E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival, please send an email to email@example.com.