Patrons react during a performance at the National Calypso finals in 2014. Calypso judges will hone their stills at a seminar today.

By E. Glenford Prescott

Current and prospective judges of the calypso artform will today (Saturday) be given an opportunity to hone their judging skills when the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Calypsonians Association hosts a judges symposium.

President of the Association, Earl “Caba” Bennett, said the workshop is being held against the backdrop of a dwindling pool of competent judges and the need to get some of the current members to retool.

“I have great respect for the work and sacrifice of these human beings — and I stress, human beings so that we will all appreciate that as flesh and blood we are not perfect. In other words, we are prone to mistakes,” Bennett said as he outlined the reason for the workshop.

“When Vincy Mas comes around, some of the people who suffer the most stress and ridicule are the judges, and, in many cases, wrongfully so. But, in the face of this, we must give them the platform for them to operate with confidence and professionalism hence the reason for the workshop,” he added.

He said that it his belief that the vast majority of persons who offer themselves as adjudicators do so with honest intentions. He, however, feels that many of the problems for the most part are as a result of misinterpretation and misunderstanding on someone, or, in some cases, on the part of a few persons.

Bennett said that after listening to the feedback and complaints, the Association decided to host the workshop and one of the things, which will be different this year will be the presence of an auditor to give an overview of their role in arriving at the placements and results.

The areas to be covered at the workshop are; music and melody; lyrics; arrangement; rendition and presentation; scoring models and the audit process.

The facilitators are Junior Sutherland, Cecil “Blazer” Williams, Roddy Dowers, Earl Paynter and Dominique Sutherland.

Bennett said the practical session will take the form of a judging exercise and discussion with participants given near real life situation to operate in.  He said that while the event is named a “judges symposium”, artiste are welcome to attend, so they can get a clear insight as to what the judges are looking for during competition.

The session will take place at the National Insurance Services’ conference room from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.