By Stephen Weir
Early last Sunday morning the doors closed at the York Mills Gallery banquet hall where over 600 disappointed people had showed up for the Toronto Revellers Band Launch.
For carnival aficionados, the annual Revellers Band launch is usually an occasion of great excitement.
Not so this year. In fact last Sunday’s launch of “MASS EXTINCTION ” is now being called ” Part One ” because only six of the ten sections were on display.
And some mas’ aficionados are now calling it ” extinction disaster.”
The missing four sections are expected to be presented – in part or in whole – on Sunday evening at the opening of the Toronto Revellers’ mas’ camp at 80 Midwest Road, Unit 10 in Scarborough.
At the York Mills launch, bandleader Jamaal Magloire introduced the carnival costumes, inspired by the theme Extinction: Love Our Planet. Helping out the NBA star on stage were Miami carnival personality D’Wassi One and Trinidad champion mas’ designer and singer Ronnie Mc Intosh.
At the end of the abbreviated show, Magloire invited the audience to come back next week.“Leave your money at home for Part Two of the Extinction costume launch,” he told the crowd.
It is ,of course, highly unusual for a mas’ band to not show all of its announced sections at its launch. Rumors were circulating online and at other carnival events this week that the four sections were made in the States and were unexpectedly held up at the border – something that Magloire’s PR team denies.
“ There were no problems at the border that I know of. Jamaal just wants to change things up and this (having the last four sections perform at the camp opening) will be a great event,” said Tanya Phillipps, the Washington-based PR expert and board secretary of the Jamaal Magloire Foundation.
Sunday’s 55-minute costume launch angered many in attendance.
Several notes of complaint were left on this writer’s social media pages.
“’That band launch was most disappointing, I did not pay my money to see five sections,” said longtime carnival insider Noel Audain.
“Some other people were also complaining that there was nothing for you to say WOW. (What) was that all about? The best costume was the lady in the orange frill dress (probably the Cosmic Fusion section). I am not biased I see it as it is. Remember I was there (Caribana) from the beginning.” said Audain.
However, the Toronto Revellers Band promises a big show at ” Part Two” of the launch.
“We will be celebrating this beauty that surrounds us all summer long with events at Mas Camp and around the city, starting with the grand opening wine & cheese event, hosted by Magloire, NBA All Star and Toronto Raptors Assistant Coach / Community Ambassador, along with special guests and entertainment, “says a news release issued by the Toronto Revellers earlier this week.
The news release also notes that “The “Toronto Revellers are leveraging Mas’ as a platform to bring awareness of a very serious global crisis we are facing – MASS EXTINCTION. “Preserving the planet is something to think about everyday, for our kids, and our kids’ kids and that is why I chose extinction.” said Magloire. “It’s not whether plants, animals, reefs have the will to survive, its whether humanity has the will to save them. This year the Revellers are playing mas with a purpose and there is a description and a theme for each section,” the release said.
One carnival aficionado said he could not understand why Jamal ” took the risk of killing the launch by holding back 40 per cent of the costumes and denying the paying fans the pleasure of seeing all the latest creations.”
“Does he not know that first impressions are important ?Is he trying to sabotage all that he has built over the years ?” the mas’ fan wanted to know.
That fan will have to wait and see.