April 26, 2006 — The red double-decker trolley with the flashing gold lights is becoming a familiar scene at Carnival. On Tuesday night it sat poised near Rothschild Francis Market Square, waiting to begin a slow musical crawl up the road.
Tuesday was the start of the Pre-Teen tramp, the first in a series of fete on foot celebrations held in the last week of Carnival, leading up to the Adult Parade on Saturday. For the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra, it was its second public event and a continuation of the 25th anniversary celebration that began at the Steel Pan Jamboree Sunday night.
"The pre-teen tramp is an event they usually put on, centered around the kids," said Nicole Sims, just one of the many Rising Stars alumni who came back to perform for the 25th anniversary. "They have different bands come in. Rising Stars has always been a part of that situation, because we're all about children. Now we're celebrating our 25th anniversary. It's our birthday, we're having a good time," she said.
As the music began, family, friends and workers from the Main Street area gathered along the street. A small group of tourists whipped out their video cameras as the trolley began to bounce as music poured out from its sides. At one point the celebration became so sweet, band members climbed out the trolley to dance in the streets, then run back in and play some more.
Someone in the crowd broke out a V.I. flag and waved it as the tramp began its march towards Emancipation Garden, while students from Leonard Dober and Ulla Muller Elementary schools followed the band. Then came the pre-teens, and perhaps a few of their older brothers and sisters, dancing up behind the JDPP Jammers.
JDPP stands for Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Program. They're most often seen as a marching band in parades and ceremonies, but some of the young musicians also have a dance band.
It would be a while later when the seniors citizens would start their traditional tramp down the Main Street. Elder saxophonist Lad Richards watched the younger set as they romped to their own — and different — drummer.
"I feel so good. Everybody is enjoying themselves, and I love to see that," he said.
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