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Small bands sizzle savannah at pan semis

Monday, January 25, 2016
Members of the Fusion Steel Ensemble perform Sparrow’s “Doh Back Back” during the medium bands category semifinals of Panorama at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. Photo: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

Godwin Bowen’s 1993 composition Raising Dust opened yesterday’s semi-final of the 2016 National Panorama competition at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain.

Under a lively arrangement by Kion Robinson, the song was played at 9.30 am by La Horquetta Pan Groove Steel Orchestra appearing in position one in the small conventional bands category in which 20 bands utilised five hours to showcase their wares before an adjudication panel comprising Damian Phillip, Corinne Soo Ping Chow, Richard Pierre, Ezra Joseph, Marceline Peters, and Joslynne Sealey. 

Among the competitors were six bands from the sister isle Tobago (Steel Sensation, Tobago Pan-Thers, Uptown Fascinators, C&B Crown Cordaans, Our Boys, and T&TEC New East Side Symphony).

The music played by the bands was a mix of past and present compositions from an assortment of composers, inclusive of the late Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), Sparrow (Dr Slinger Francisco), Chris “Tambu” Herbert, Crazy (Edwin Ayoung), Bally (Errol Ballantyne), SuperBlue (Austin Lyons), The Original De Fosto Himself (Winston Scarborough), Merchant (Dennis Franklyn Williams), Jayson (John Perez), Machel Montano, David Rudder, Vanessa Headley, Jason Bishop, and Genelle Bharat.

Interestingly, only three songs composed in 2016 were on offer—De Fosto’s D Greatest Invention, played by Arima Golden Symphony; Vanessa Headley’s Young and Free, played by Golden Hands; and Genelle Bharat’s Pan Jumbie, played by Laventille Serenaders. The others spanned dates between Sparrow’s Doh Back Back (1984) and Jason Bishop’s My House (2015).

Established arrangers on show included Terrence “BJ” Marcelle, Ken “Professor” Philmore, Yohan Popwell, Khari Codrington, Arddin Herbert, Curtis Edwards, and Mikhail Salcedo. 

Leading orchestra from the preliminary round Tornadoes of Point Fortin appeared in position five to deliver a Shervon Edwards’ arrangement of Jayson’s Mash It Up from 1989. Second place qualifier Arima Golden Symphony played in fourth position doing De Fosto’s D Greatest Invention, arranged by BJ Marcelle, while third place qualifier Five Rivers Modern Symphony showcased Merchant’s Pan In Danger, arranged by Erwin Louis and Christopher Coward, in position seven.  

Crescendo Musical from Erica Street, Laventille brought the category to a close at 2.30 pm with Tambu’s 1989 Road March winner Free Up.

Ten bands will be selected to advance to the finals scheduled for Thursday, at Skinner Park, San Fernando where they will compete for the $400,000 first prize. Medium and large bands followed the small bands category.


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