For Sarah Perez, who is the head of her household, it is a constant struggle to keep up with rising food prices.
Perez lives in Chaguanas with her daughter and two grandchildren.
The much-criticised swimming pool on the Greens was empty of bathers at 4.30 pm yesterday but hundreds of patrons were still streaming into the already-crowded alternative venue for the semi-final round of competition in the Medium and Large Bands category of the 2014 National Steelband Panorama at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.
On stage in position 13, performing before a packed North Stand and three-quarter-filled Grand Stand, was Carib Dixieland Steel Orchestra, one of four qualifying bands from Tobago in the Medium band category. Their tune of choice was Clive Telemaque’s 2014 composition Dis Is It, arranged by Leon “Smooth” Edwards.
Large, high-resolution monitors coupled with a near perfect sound system in the Greens silenced all activity there, as patrons stood looking and listening calmly to the steelband performance on the stage.
Competition got underway in the Medium Bands category 20 minutes later than the advertised starting time of 12 noon. The first band on stage was Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille playing Russell Cadogan’s 1991 composition Poison, arranged by Ken “Professor” Philmore. It was followed by Pan Elders of Carib Street, San Fernando, with dancing girls complementing the musicians, offering a Duvonne Stewart arrangement of Clive Bradley’s All Ah We Is One Family, sung by Lord Nelson in 1981.
Among the 14 orchestras seeking to qualify for the ten places in the final carded for Carnival Saturday night at the same venue was the defending category champion NLCB Buccooneers of Tobago doing a Sieon Gomez arrangement of David Rudder’s Madness, sung in 1986.
The other Tobago qualifiers were Petrotrin Katzenjammers of Black Rock and NGC Steel Xplosion of Carnbee. Katzenjammers played SuperBlue’s Spankin, arranged by Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, while Steel Xplosion chose the David Rudder/Pelham Goddard composition Dus In Dey Face, from 1992, arranged by Arddin Herbert.
Adjudicating the competition was a panel comprising Laurel M Broomes-Rogers, Michelle Dowrich, Ezra Joseph, Damian Phillip, Martin Albino, and Lorna Conyette.
Fifteen bands were listed to appear in the Large Bands Category from which ten will advance to the final. They were: Caribbean Airline Invaders, T&TEC Tropical Angel Harps, Witco Desperadoes, Bp Renegades, Skiffle, Solo Harmonites, Birdsong, Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars, White Oak Starlift, NLCB Fonclaire, Republic Bank Exodus, NGC La Brea Nightingales, Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, and RBC Redemption Sound Setters.