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Hotseat - Orlando Vanterpool

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Orlando Vanterpool of 78 Inc Entertainment Foundation usually gets extra busy around Carnival time. The 37-year-old Vanterpool has been involved in Carnival for the past 12 years. He runs booth # 12 "Shut Up & Drink" in St. Maarten Festival Village, and as a member of 78 Inc, is helping with the coordination of the first international show for this year's Carnival - Flag Fest 2k15 - ¬¬set for this Saturday, April 18, from 8:00pm. The show is being held under the slogan: "Come represent your flag and wave your rag...We are Caribbean" and will feature Venemous Poizon Band from St. Thomas; Small Axe Band from St Kitts; Tripple Kay Global from Dominica; Pantha Vibes International from Anguilla and TJT Band (formerly RespeK Band) from right here in St. Maarten. Spinning at the turntables will be DJ Vybz and DJ Cd Rankin. Entertainer and singer King Vers will emcee the show. Vanterpool, a Cole Bay resident and father of two, enjoys the joy and feting that Carnival brings and looks forward to this season as he sets out to please palates and offer entertainment as his contributions to the season. The Capricorn-born tells us more about his carnival activities and about his own life in this week's Hot Seat.

Who is Orlando Vanterpool?

"I am a super great father, a very outgoing and social person, a trustworthy and great friend and colleague. My immediate family (my son, my daughter, my loyal and best friend: my fiancé) is most important to me after my love for my Creator. I am extremely grateful for my strong family support team and my true and loyal friends."

Where were you educated; what did you study and why?

"I attended the former Leonard Connor Primary School (now Leonald Conner Primary School) and Milton Peters College and pursued my tertiary studies at Gupton Jones School of Mortuary Science in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States."

Why did you decide to study to become a mortician?

"From a very young age, though being fearful of the unknown, I was always inquisitive about wanting to know what happens to persons when they pass away, and what the process was like. As I grew older, my fear quickly became my calling and I took on the challenge and studied to become a mortician and a funeral director. To date, it's a satisfying job for me, knowing that I am able to assist persons give their loved ones a final honour or tribute they so deserve, because a life well lived is worth remembering."

What is it about St. Maarten's Carnival that you love?

"I love to see the people having fun and especially listening to them and seeing them having much joy expressed as they are part of our largest cultural event on the island. I also like the fact that we are able to display our cultural heritage and share this with the world."

How did your affiliation with 78 INC Entertainment Foundation come about?

"Upon return from college, [a group of friends and I - Ed.] were looking into how to share our knowledge and experiences with the younger generation. As we all love to entertain and as we were a group of young and local entrepreneurs with a vision and mission to help others succeed or become successful, we established 78 INC Entertainment Foundation to help us accomplish and achieve this vision."

What can fans expect at Flag Fest 2015 – the first international Carnival concert?

Fans can expect a massive show from five of some of the greatest carnival bands of the Caribbean; experience a jam like no other before and to get a long-awaited pre-Jouvert warm-up jam session that will be talked about for years to come."

What are your expectations?

"That Carnival Flag Fest 2015 is the best-and-most-talked-about concert for Carnival 2015; that the people come out and represent with their respective flags and that they enjoy themselves and have fun at the concert."

What is exciting about hosting a show during St. Maarten's Carnival?

"The excitement for me is the hype and being able to help boost the Carnival excitement and get St. Maarten and visitors ready for the best Carnival in the region."

Why is Caribbean Flag Fest going to be the best show this Carnival?

"Caribbean Flag Fest will be displaying five of some of the greatest and best bands of the Caribbean. It will be a showcase of some of the best musicians and artists of and within the Caribbean, and we will be having some five of the biggest and best bands on one large stage, all on one night, April 18th, 2015."

Tell us about your booth in Carnival Village.

"I have always been involved in Carnival from the time my mom started some 12 years ago, and as an established booth holder for two years now. The name of the booth is Shut Up & Drink. The booth sells the best satés in Carnival Village; is known for the drink Whoot-Toop and specialises in tasty local cuisine prepared by a great chef - myself. Most of all, we provide a great service by a great team at Booth number 12."

How can Carnival be improved overall?

"By companies and persons realising that Carnival has now become more than just a group of volunteers organising an island-wide party. Companies and people now have to support Carnival and the organisers more and in all forms by assisting in making this event the largest Carnival and Caribbean fete of the entire Caribbean."

Aside from your own show, what are some of your favourite carnival activities and what will you be supporting this season?

"My favourite carnival activities are getting the booth up and running, entertaining my clients, cooking and preparing the meals and not forgetting participating in Jouvert. I will be supporting everything pertaining to Carnival, as this is one of the greatest times of the year for me."

How do you juggle your many hats at carnival time as businessperson, booth holder, promoter and family man?

"Time management is essential and very important. I juggle them all by envisioning, planning, preparing and executing."

What is your philosophy on life?

"It is what it is; the sooner you accept it, the faster you move on."

What is your favourite type of music? What artistes do you listen to?

"I'm an old school kind of guy."

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?

"I would invite Bob Marley, Beres Hammond and Gerald Levert, and I would cook a meal of boiled fish, fungi and okra for them."