The first steelband street parade along Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain, is scheduled for August 26, as one of the many pan events being held to commemorate the nation’s 50th anniversary of Independence. Being staged with the blessings of the Government and Pan Trinbago, some of the steelbands expected to parade are reigning National Panorama champion Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, runners-up Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove and BP Renegades, Witco Desperadoes, Carib Woodbrook Playboyz and St James Tripolians. In other pan news, Phase II will host its 40th anniversary concert tomorrow at its Hamilton Street pan amphitheatre in Woodbrook, at 8 pm. The headline acts will be Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, Witco Desperadoes, Republic Bank Exodus and host band Phase II. Come August 14, pannists will try and prove that beside playing the national instrument they are also great cooks as CAL Invaders hosts a pan cook off at its panyard, located on Tragarete Road, Woodbrook. Special prizes await pan chefs for the Best BBQ and Best Potato Salad.
The Laventille Steelband Foundation (LSF), fresh from staging its recent successful 8 of Hearts production, is promising the best Laventille Steelband Festival, scheduled for August 5, along the Eastern Main Road, in Success Village, Laventille.
The annual event is held under the patronage of President George Maxwell Richards and begins each year with a cultural performance on the roadway in front of The House of Angostura. A LSF spokesman told Pulse last weekend: “It is the nation’s 50th anniversary of Independence so we are pulling out all stops to make this one the most fantastic of all. We have added a number of features, and may even have 50 steelbands on the street that night. But, it’s all top secret for now.”
At this year’s Carnival celebrations they were a curiosity. Now, the pannists of the University of Delaware (UD) are taking the national instrument to Greece next month. Led by local pannist Selwyn “Fruits” Williams, the young musicians will perform in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the International Society of Music Educators conference, on July 13-19, while Williams will conduct a series of workshops.
In an invitation to Williams, UD assistant professor of music Harvey Price wrote: “Your association with the University of Delaware these past two years, during our Study Abroad trips to T&T in January, has helped us to solidify the sound and style of Delaware Steel, and has propelled us to higher musical standards in the art forms of steelband.” During the Greece stint, Williams and his young charges will perform for music educators representing every country in the world, and will be discussing the role of our very own national instrument in music education. Having brought 25 musicians of Delaware Steel to T&T this year, Williams has some extremely ambitious dreams for pan in the future. He has finalised plans for staging the first World Panorama Competition on T&T soil in 2015, with steelbands from every continent participating. Stating that more than 10,000 pannists and musicians will participate, Williams is currently in negotiations for the event with organisations and steelbands of the Euro zone. Stating that his main intention is “to expose T&T to the world through the steelband,” Williams said that, upon leaving Greece, he hopes to travel to Israel, to foist the notion of using pan as a vehicle of peace between the peoples of Palestine and Israel. He added that he also intends bringing Delaware Steel back to T&T for C2K13.
• Remembering a panman
Foreign-based sons of Laventille will remember recently departed Franklyn Ollivierra in a special way tomorrow, from 4 pm, with a memorial celebration at the Marcella Street Community Centre, in Success Village, Laventille. Ollivierra, 65, who played pan for Highlanders Steel Orchestra, Starlift and Phase II Pan Groove, succumbed to a heart attack a fortnight ago. For the event, women are asked to bring eats, while the men will provide the drinks. Interested people can contact Ushkay Thomas at 796 1028. Pan will have a place of honour tomorrow evening when St Mary’s College Past Students’ Union hosts its annual Dining With The Saints, at St Mary’s College Hall, Pembroke Street, Port-of-Spain, at 7 pm. Joining Republic Bank Exodus to provide live entertainment are 3Canal & cut + clear crew, Frankie Callender, Margarita Fanovich, Xavier Strings and DJ Crosby.