Gleaner takes birthday show on the road - Eastern Rangers drummer carries the vibes
It was certainly a special Friday the 13th when The Gleaner Company took over the St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston to celebrate the company’s 185 years of dedicated service to print media in Jamaica. Swaying to the tune of the Eastern Rangers Marching Band, members of staff joined in a parade from their North Street home to the park for the company’s 185th Anniversary Road Show.
Among staff members observed participating in the march were Chief Operating Officer Christopher Barnes; Assistant Manager of Human Resource Services Mary Dick, and Head of Marketing and Sponsorship Suwannee Caine, who made an effort to learn a bit of the band’s choreography as team members assumed the role of their cheerleaders.
The shouts of “Gleaner!”, which were made to the various drum patterns, had onlookers hurriedly making their way along major roadways such as East Street and Upper King Street to join in the fun and excitement. The dancers, trumpeters, and drummers alike of the Eastern Rangers Marching Band held the attention of the people. One drummer in particular, who goes by the moniker ‘Pinchy’, stood out among the group as his energy never faltered.
Pinchy, given name Ronaldo Vincent, is a former student of the Papine High School and has performed with the four-year-old marching band for two years and is one of its lead drummers. Speaking to The Gleaner in between sets, Vincent said: “It feels good to be part of a marching band. It has become my family, and it is an honour to be performing for this Gleaner event.”
On arrival at the destination, where the public was invited to enjoy the live performances of entertainers, including 2019 Rising Stars top three finalists; the first- and third-place winners of the 2019 JCDC Festival Song Competition, Al Third, Tony Rebel, and Stylo G, the marchers realised that a small crowd of excited supporters was already waiting for the road show activities and live performances to begin.
Playing a three-piece drum set, Vincent carried the vibes as the band entertained with its renditions of tracks such as the 1950s classic Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets; gospel tune Way Maker by Sinach; songs of pop stars Charlie Puth and Taylor Swift, One Call Away and Blank Space, respectively; and Starboy by Mavado, among other acoustic arrangements. All components of the band were heard loud and clear, but noticing Vincent’s dexterity and confident attitude, Cornelius Grant, popular actor-director and emcee for the early morning segment, called out the young instrumentalist to do a solo performance. It had some members of the audience, including one Portlander, Caroline Oakley, dancing wildly in the park. She did not shy away from the cameras as she swung her hips to the rhythmic, fast-paced sounds of traditional drum patterns.
The event, which promised to be an affair of food, fun, and entertainment, garnered the support of the general public and corporate sponsors such as GraceKennedy, National Baking Company, and Red Stripe while the Gleaner engaged persons in a raffle for special giveaways.
Damion Smith, a central Kingston resident, told The Gleaner: “On hearing about the activities of Gleaner 185th Anniversary, I thought it very important to come out and make myself known to a company that is vital to community building – not to mention I was interested in the performances.”
Persons who were not able to make it to the venue could listen to outside broadcasts on Hitz 92 FM with Jenny Jenny and on Power 106 FM with Dervan Malcolm.