'Carnival' helps shake winter blues
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Feb. 24, 2011
Despite being on a mid-week school vacation day when many parents still had to work, hundreds of families escaped the winter (at least for a little while) at the Children’s Caribbean Carnival, presented by the Glastonbury Parks and Recreation Department Feb. 23.
The Carnival Trio, a group of musicians led by David Gaskin, performed tropical-themed, kid-friendly songs, such as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “The Banana Boat Song,” and encouraged children to interact via a conga line, an unofficial limbo contest, a tug-of-war, and various dances.
Gaskin, originally from Trinidad, also gave a lesson about how steel drums are made, recommended books about steel drums, and allowed some volunteers their first opportunity to play the instrument.
“If anyone asks you who invented the steel drum,” Gaskin told the crowd, “you tell them it was Winston ‘Spree’ Simon, around 1942 [although the exact year is not known].”
The Trio, which has studied Trinidadian culture, weaves other short lessons throughout the program.
Before he formed Carnival Trio, Gaskin had taught in conjunction with Sesame Street and The Model City and performs widely in New York City, as well as different parts of the U.S. and the Caribbean islands.
Upcoming Parks and Rec. programs include an Arts and Crafts program for kids on March 5 and 12 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Academy School Building, and a Wizard’s School of Magic workshop on March 8 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Riverfront Community Center. For more information and a complete listing of Parks and Rec. programs, visit www.glasct.org.