As the Brooklyn-based Carican Costumes plays “Musical Instruments” this Labor Day, band leader Trinidadian Pat Nurse says she’s looking forward to making a “stunning impression” on the children, spectators and especially the judges.
“I always pick a theme that the children can identify with,” said Nurse, who has been participating in mas-making, for the past 28 years, in New York, in a Caribbean Life interview. “They can easily tell anyone, including their teachers, full details about their summer presentation.”
Nurse, who is also Carican Costumes’s designer and producer, said the band comprises five sections: “Dancers,” “Singers,” “Tambourine,” “Guitars” and “Music Sheet.”
She said while the girls will play in any section, comprising 20 masqueraders in each, the boys will play in Guitars, Singers and Music Sheet.
There are also eight “huge individuals”, including the King and Queen, said Nurse, adding that the bank comprises “every nationality.”
“Everyone is welcomed,” she said, disclosing that, every year, since 2008, Carican Costumes’s Children’s band has won a prize at the West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s (WIADCA) Junior Carnival at the Brooklyn Museum.
“The children will be satisfied, as they are every year, because we treat them to refreshments, eats, water, juices, whistles, balloons and toys to keep them occupied along the route,” said Nurse, who is also an adjunct professor in English at Medgar Evers and La Guardia Community Colleges, of the City University of New York (CUNY).
She said a team of parents, volunteers, supporters, members and mas-makers are working to produce Carican Costumes’s “biggest presentation” this year.
Nurse said some costumes are created by children “to start them as young designers,” with some early masqueraders returning to assist, such as Safiya Black, T.J., and Venecia Little, and mas-designers, such as Michael Warner.
This year, Carican Costumes is supported by Bennita Clarke and the four-year-old United Super Soccer League (USSL).
Founded by Leben Mc Gregor, USSL hosted the first ever Trinidad and Tobago Family Day on July 12, 2015, said Nurse, who, for the past five years, has also assisted WIADCA in its Children Costume Design Workshop in which children are encouraged to become young costume designers.
Nurse said she donated costumes to Chinapoo Government School in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Costumes were also donated to children in Guyana in 2012. In 2014, costumes were given to children in that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, with assistance from Lana Payne and Michael Thorne, Nurse said.
She said Carican Costumes has “the best DJ,” DJ Tolo, who has been the band’s DJ for the past four years and WIADCA’s “resident DJ” for the children’s parade for years, Nurse said.
Carican Costumes is located at 547 Lincoln Place, between Franklin and Classon avenues in Brooklyn.
Nurse can be reached at (718) 399-0076.