OCPA’s Exciting Calypso Plans for Toronto Carnival 2024

Macomere Fifi

By Lincoln DePradine

Trinidadian-Canadian performer Henry “Cosmos’’ Gomez maintains a hectic schedule on the entertainment circuit, including the calypso fraternity.

In this spring and summer season, he’ll be spearheading a series of activities as president of the Organization of Calypso Performing Artists (OCPA).

“We have quite a few things happening,’’ Gomez, a former Calypso Monarch of Canada, told The Caribbean Camera.

Apart from his OCPA tasks, Gomez also is preparing to produce a video of his latest calypso “Trinbago Is Home’’.

Bill Newman

The calypso was released last month on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIIwGGo8Em0, and isavailable on all streaming platforms.

Gomez disclosed that a video to accompany “Trinbago Is Home’’ will be shot onsite, June 2, at the mas’ camp headed by veteran multiple Band of the Year winner, Louis Saldenah.

However, the immediate focus of Gomez is on OCPA’s hosting its “Second Annual Victoria Weekend Brunch’’. It’s a fundraiser scheduled for this Sunday, May 19, 12 noon – 3 pm, at Spade Bar & Lounge, 3580 McNicoll Avenue.

Henry “Cosmos’’ Gomez

OCPA describes it as a “family-friendly event’’, which would include comedy, as well as calypso, steelpan and drumming.

Money raised will be applied to “the cost of keeping the organization running’’, and also to “help defray the cost’’ of upcoming events such as 2024 Calypso Monarch competition, Gomez said in an interview.

The competition, after an absence of several years, returned last year. “It generated renewed interest in Canadian calypso and the organization,’’ said Gomez.

At the “Kaiso 365 Calypso Monarch Final’’ of 2023, Eulith Tara Woods – calypsonian Macomere Fifi – emerged winner. She also captured the People’s Choice award.

Susan “Susan G” Grogan

Last year’s champion title was the seventh for Macomere Fifi in the Canadian competition.

The 2024 calypso championship is July 28. But, leading up to the final, OCPA will be holding three calypso tent shows – on July 6, 7 and 14.

The judging and selection of calypsonians for the Kaiso 365 Calypso Monarch Final will be conducted at the July 14 tent, Gomez said.

Other OCPA events in the coming weeks will include the organization’s involvement in a “Carnival Arts Children’s Summer Camp’’; a Junior Calypso & Soca Showcase at Malvern Park; and, on August 5 at Harbourfront Centre, there will be dual activities: workshops on calypso and also the also the annual “Calypso Stars Concert’’.

“We are in a very good state right now,’’ said Gomez, who also highlighted OCPA’s relationship with the Festival Management Committee, organizers of the Toronto Carnival.

The FMC, beginning last year, included representatives of calypso, pan and masquerade bands on its board of directors.

When the FMC holds a carnival launch on June 15, at Scarborough Town Centre, OCPA will be an event participant, Gomez said.

OCPA, a registered non-profit arts organization, was founded in 1981 “to guide the growth and development of calypso in Toronto and Canada’’.

Gomez, who is in his second consecutive term as OCPA president, must step down from the position at the end of 2025 in keeping with the organization’s by-laws, would like to see an increase in membership. OCPA’s annual membership fee is $40.

“Our membership still needs improving. We’re in dire need of members, especially board members,’’ said Gomez.

“We encourage people to become members, so that later on they can become board members. Because one pf the requirements is that someone has to be a member for at least a year, in order to become eligible for running for the board.’’

New members, especially with management, accounting and media skills, are required by OCPA, Gomez said.

“It’s important that we have competent and committed board members to keep the organization alive,’’ said Gomez.

More information on OCPA is available at email ocpatreasurer1@gmail.com and calypsocanada@gmail.com; or, at telephone numbers 647-225-8977 and 647-274-7992.