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Francois Girls’ win the hat-trick
By quarter to nine Sunday morning the Lady done dress and tapping she foot waiting for she mother to carry she to meet the band. She in she new jersey, black pants, white socks and black shoes, following the dress code to a T because she arranger, Mr Aleong, say if the judges see the band looking uniform Francois might pick up a extra point. And Francois was going there to win.
When we reach in PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars on Tragarete Road it had pan all on the ground waiting for parents, supporters and players to load them up on a truck. It wasn’t too long before the pans was on the truck and it was time to push the pan racks up to the Savannah. St Francois Girls’ College Steel Orchestra was on the road heading to Junior Panorama 2013.
I never push pan before Sunday morning and I never realise how hard it is to keep a couple hundred pounds of steel on a straight path up Victoria Avenue and around Queen’s Park Savannah. Sun was burning hot and one of the girls pushing the rack in front of we start to wobble worse than the rack, so I pull she square and give she a coconut to drink to cool she down before she drop—braps!—in the road. But thank God it wasn’t too far to go before we park up on the Drag and the girls start to practise.
In two twos a organiser in a orange jersey come and brace we to tell we that we had to move. We was too close to the stage and the breeze was blowing the music right to the judges, so is back to unloading pan and pushing rack again to another spot lower down on the Drag. By then Mr Samuel come with he pick-up pack with cases of water so I grab a beastly cold bottle and put it on my face, sitting down in the cab to try and ease the migraine I wake up with.
I didn’t have no time for no headache. My daughter was playing tenor with the defending Secondary Schools Panorama champions and no way, no how I was missing that.
By then my friend Barbara come. (She was smarter than me and had on one big shady hat while I turning a kind of pumpkin colour from sunburn on top of the migraine.) She first time in Junior Panorama and she say she couldn’t see why the stands wasn’t full up with people.
Monday morning she tell me, “The youngsters in all the bands gave me real hope for this troubled, benighted space. Dedicated, disciplined, co-operative, immersing self into group for mutual growth and benefit while learning...junior pan is the model for sustainable development...brings out the best in adults too.”
Francois was playing in position number ten. in the secondary schools category, so they had plenty time to run through the music while they was waiting to go on. Them girls was playing tight, and they attack Mr Aleong arrangement with fire. Even on the Drag you could see people was impress. After a certain passage, I see a man eye open big big and he turn to he partner and say, “You hear that? You hear that?”
At last it was time. We take a running start to roll the racks up the ramp to the stage and while the band was setting up I hustle over into the Grand Stand to watch the performance. My heart swell when I see them girls up there, some in green, some in yellow, with two-three boys from other schools in the engine room. They play their guts out and when they done the stands explode, everybody cheering and clapping. I know right at that moment that even if they didn’t win the competition, they do their best and it was real good.
Off the stage again, pan to take down and pack on the truck again, rack to push back to Tragarete Road again—easier this time because is downhill from the Savannah to Silver Stars panyard, but still. By the time I reach home, I was bun.
And then, Sunday night, results had the Lady screaming and running up and down. All that hard work, all them hours of practice, it pay off. St Francois Girls’ College Steel Orchestra win their hat-trick, Secondary Schools Panorama champs for the third year straight. Well done, Francois. Well done, Lady.
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