Sisters win big in Carnival Nationz sweep



For the first time ever in Toronto Carnival history, siblings captured the Queen of the Band and Female Individual awards in last Thursday night’s Carnival Nationz sweep.

Aspiring actress and York University student Joella Crichton won her third Queen of the Band crown in four years while older sister Mischka clinched the Individual award in her first senior competition.

The sisters, who are recreational roller skaters, started playing mas’ when they were about three years old.

“When I was approached and asked to take part in the King & Queen of the Bands event this year, I thought long and hard before making a decision,” says the older Crichton who appeared in the Kiddies Carnival years ago. “The adrenalin was definitely flowing going into the competition, but once I got on stage, I felt comfortable and did my thing even though the costume was very heavy.

“Being in shape definitely helped as I was able to breathe easy and remain calm while working my way with the wind. It was an amazing experience.”

Joella won the title in 2008 with Mervyn Skeete and his Toronto Caribbean Connection organization and in 2009 with Carnival Nationz.

“Finishing third last year was not good enough, so I really wanted to regain the crown,” she said. “But I was hoping that my sister would come out on top and make it a nice family affair which happened. I am so glad for her.”

Their Vincentian-born mother, Lou-Ann Crichton, has been an active carnival volunteer for many years.

“I enjoy doing that in the summer when I am not teaching,” said the 14-year Toronto District School Board employee who migrated to Canada 31 years ago. “But to have my two daughters win on the same night is a dream come true. I am so proud of them.”

Carnival Nationz bandleader Marcus Eustace says the Crichton sisters were impressive.

“They are two of our most popular models,” he said. “They are very confident and they have stage presence, flair and passion.”

Joella Crichton has appeared in the last six Queen of the Band competitions, including 2007 when her costume’s metal frame bent and toppled while she was performing for the judges.

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