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Youths shine in pan and calypso Monarch competitions

Thursday, February 4, 2016
2016 Secondary Schools 2016 National Panorama champion St Joseph's Convent, St Joseph performs Anders Kopel’s arrangement of the late Kitchener’s Guitar Pan. Photo: MARCUS GONZALES

In the wake of much criticism on social media about the paucity of soca music for 2016, the youth of the nation are not only shining but are restoring hope that traditional calypso and pan are in safe hands. This was evident at the just concluded finals of the National Junior Panorama and National Junior Calypso Monarch competitions.

Making an indelible impression on Sunday when the National Panorama finals were held at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain were the children of Goodwill Industries, though challenged. 

Playing Lisa Goodridge’s arrangement of Fay Ann Lyons’ Raze, and competing against nine other bands in the secondary schools category, not only did they touch hearts and make spirits soar but they placed seventh. 

Also making an impression was first-time entrant among the primary schools, Tacarigua Presbyterian, defeating 11 rivals to cop the first prize in a hotly contested final.

Playing Anders Kopel’s arrangement of the late Kitchener’s Guitar Pan, St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph won the secondary schools category, ahead past winners like St Francois Girls’ College and Providence/QRC.

A number of the steelbands in the 21 and Under category would have qualified for Saturday’s senior National Panorama final. A hat-trick in a Panorama competition, that elusive feat attained only by bpTT Renegades, was achieved by the Charlotte Street junior band, playing Andrew Charles’ arrangement of Calypso Music. The band, as well as runners-up Invaders Youth and Revelation Institute for Performing Education, were at the top of their game and deserving of special mention.

Young people were also like beacons, brilliantly shining on stage as they competed in the finals of the National Junior Soca and Calypso Monarch competitions. Queen’s Royal College student Aaron Duncan, who has seemed to be unbeatable in calypso since he was much younger as a student at Newtown Boys’ RC School, was finally defeated by Holy Name Convent student Sharissa Camejo. 

A runner-up on many occasions, she did a remarkable performance of Our Blessed Land. 

Duncan did get some silverware this year when he retained the National Junior Soca Monarch title. He placed eighth in the monarch final.

In a number of areas, the material and quality of performances by our young people are more palatable and enjoyable than what is presented by the adults. Tuco and Pan Trinbago Inc need to become a lot more aggressive in having the Pan in School project legislated and consistently implemented, as well as having calypso as an integral element on the schools curriculum, something eight-time National Calypso Monarch Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool) has lobbied for for many years.


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