New Generation portrays ‘Wings Of’…everything

Ronesha Griffin, 13, portraying “Wings of Fire.”
Photo by Nelson A. King

After a year’s hiatus, New Generation Mas Community Center is portraying ‘Wings Of’…everything this carnival.

According to Trinidadian bandleader, producer and designer, Kathyann Hernandez, the medium-size, children’s band comprises 10 sections, with 20 masqueraders in each section.

Hernandez told Caribbean Life that the sections “depict everyday life.”

They comprise Wings of Love; Wings of Compassion; Wings of Prey; Wings of Eternity; Wings of Destiny; Wings of Life; Wings of Desire; Wings of Hope; Wings of Freedom; and Wings of Fire.

“The main focus of this organization is to develop and promote the artistry, beauty and the tradition of the world’s richest cultures,” said Hernandez about New Generation Mas Community Center, which she founded in 1998.

She said most of the masqueraders are American-born children of Caribbean parentage, adding: “We have a variety of nationalities here.

“My kids are heavily involved in the production of costumes, with no prior mas experience,” Hernandez said.

“But what they have learnt from their mothers, they are well capable of producing quality costumes,” she added.

Hernandez said New Generation expects to place high in this year’s Children’s Carnival.

“Considering our past history, I expect nothing less than (the) top three (position) from our group,” she said.

In portraying “Aquatic” in 2000, New Generation placed third for large bands. Two years later, it took the same spot for large bands with “Masquerade.”

In 2003, New Generation rose to the top for large bands, with “Culture Fest.” A year later, it placed second with “Memorabilia.”

In 2006, “The Spirit of Calypso” garnered New Generation first in the medium size category.

In 2007, it placed second for large bands with “Aloha Festival,” but returned to the top spot the next year with “Jungle” in the medium size category.

New Generation captured the large band title in 2009, with “Fiesta,” and retained the title the next year with “The Journey.”

In 2011, it took the second spot with “Glitz & Glamour” for large bands. It did not compete last year because of Hernandez’s illness.

After migrating to New York, when she was only 15 years old, Hernandez said there was “very little to do culturally in my community.”

Ryanna Brewster, 10, portraying “Wings of Freedom.”
Photo by Nelson A. King

So, she said she joined a dance group since that was her passion while living in Trinidad and Tobago.

Later, she said her dad, Victor Peters, who grew up in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain, considered the “mecca of costuming” in Trinidad and Tobago, introduced her to mas.

“My dad gave me a tour of the bands in Brooklyn and a lecture about my godfather, George Bailey, and how great he was (with making carnival costumes,” Hernandez said.

“He then introduced me to one of his best friends, the late Morris Stewart,” she added, stating that after the introduction and tour, “I was on my own.”

Hernandez said it was “very difficult” not having any experience in costume-making and being a female.

“But, with great determination and being a fast learner, I pursued my greatest desire to make costumes,” she said, disclosing that she later visited her native land, where she learned more, from several bandleaders, the art of costume-making.

Hernandez said she was “the errand girl” for several mas camps in Brooklyn before Stewart, designer for the defunct mas band, “Caribbean People,” gave her the “first break.”

She said she also developed to the coordination of colors from her mom, Patricia “Dress Maker Pat” Hall, considered a “top designer in Brooklyn for many years.”

“I am very visual,” Hernandez said. “I don’t draw, but am able to sit down and make what I imagine.

“It is an art by vision, and that’s how New Generation was created,” she added.

From a masquerader’s perspective, Hernandez said New Generation is “an all inclusive children band, and we are ready for the road.”

On the other hand, from a spectator’s perspective, she said her or she “should look forward to the glitz and glamour of this on the road.

“It would be something to look forward to,” she said, adding: “Carnival arts offers self-expression and exploration to seek out our roots and to develop new forms of looking at the world and its cultures.

“The power and creativity of the carnival art form can transform lives, and together we can dance to the song of life,” Hernandez philosophized.

New Generation Community Center is located at 845 Albany Ave., between Linden Boulevard and Church Avenue in Brooklyn.

Hernandez can be reached at (917) 573-4139, or Patrice Hernandez-Simmons at (347) 475-6023.

Nalani Bartholomew, 8, portraying “Wings of Compassion.”
Photo by Nelson A. King

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