The qualifying round of the FCB International Steelpan Jazz Challenge takes place at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, from 5 pm. A total of 13 ensembles with a minimum of 12 musicians of whom at least half must be playing steelpan instruments, would perform for six minutes, selections chosen from a list of approved songs.
The challenge will focus on the ensemble’s ability to take its chosen song and perform it in a jazz idiom and not deviate from jazz at any period during the arrangement. At the draw for playing positions on October 9 at The Normandie in St Ann’s, title sponsor First Citizens (FCB) presented a cheque for the $500,000 in prizes at stake to the organising committee.
Eight ensembles with the highest scores, chosen by adjudicators Dr Dawn Batson and Ron Reid, will advance to the final scheduled for November 4 at the same venue. Adjudication will be determined by musicality of the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness.
First prize is $50,000, while second to eighth places will receive $25,000 each. Objectives of the event are to deepen the relationship between the T&T Steelpan and Jazz Festival and the steelpan community, and further promote the integration of the steelpan with conventional musical instruments utilizing the jazz idiom.
The festival is produced by the Queen’s Royal College Foundation: a charitable trust, established in 1995 to assist students, staff and alumni of the Queen’s Royal College —one of the Caribbean’s oldest, esteemed secondary-level schools.
The Foundation’s major sources of funds are two annual entertainment events: Outta de Blue, a pre-Carnival fete and The Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan and Jazz Festival (formerly known as “Pan Royale”), the world’s premiere steelpan music showcase.
Over the years the foundation has contributed in excess of $2,600,000 to the financial relief of QRC. These contributions have been spent in the following areas: payments of stipends and salaries to part-time and replacement staff; teacher training; repairs, maintenance and replacement of plant and equipment; student welfare; sporting and other co-curricular activities, especially those that offer special lifetime enhancing training and experience at home and abroad.
Money from the Foundation has also gone towards the acquisition of a school bus. The foundation’s mission is to increase its contributions to the ongoing pursuit of QRC’s vision of Excellence in Education simultaneously fostering national pride by maintaining a vehicle through which the Government, private business and residential communities can come together in presenting local artistes, artisans, unique culture and natural phenomena to the world.
Order of appearance and selections
1. Sforzata—to be announced
2. Codrington Pan Family—Pan Night & Day—Aldwyn Roberts
3. Moyenne—Mambo Inn—Machito
4. Curepe Scherzando—The Carnival Is Over—Aldwyn Roberts
5. Couva Joylanders—Be Careful—Dennis Williams
6. UWI Caribbean Contemporary Workshop—Sweet Music—Garfield Blackman
7. Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille—Be Careful—Dennis Williams
8. Bptt Renegades—Magic Drum - Machel Montano
9. Golden Hands—Mambo Inn—Machito
10. T&T Police Jazz Band—Love in the Cemetery—Aldwyn Roberts
11. Arima Golden Symphony—Pan Night & Day—Aldwyn Roberts
12. Tamana Pioneers—Mambo Inn—Machito
13. Tobago Our Boys—The Carnival Is Over—Aldwyn Roberts