Plymouth/Bethesda Steel Sensation performing Is Thunder by Kelvon ‘The Mighty Duke’ Pope, arranged by Kymani Sandy, during the Small Conventional Bands semifinals hosted by Pan Trinbago at Victoria Square, Port of Spain on Saturday. – ROGER JACOB
Young people continue to dominate the small conventional bands category of the National Panorama competition as evidenced in the semifinals on Saturday.
Speaking to Sunday Newsday during the competition at Victoria Square, Port of Spain, Pan Trinbago president Beverley Ramsey-Moore noted most of the players were youths and the organisation continued to see young arrangers.
“I think the single pan and the small conventional categories are the breeding grounds for those young arrangers to practise and to get experience. That is very welcoming because a lot of them are going to UTT and after they leave UTT they are looking for employment. So it’s good that these bands can use them, not only at Carnival time, but also to do stage-side music.”
She said seeing so many young players was very satisfying for her as it meant pan would never die. She said it was a cycle. When those players got older, they would be in the stands and the youths of that time would take over the playing.
She appreciated the renewal of remittances of $500 for the players and financial support for unsponsored bands in the form of grants from the government. She said she was grateful to the government for paying for all the prizes as well as the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell.
“I think he’s one of our biggest fans. Whenever we put a proposal to him, he’s always fighting to ensure that he satisfies the needs of the steelpan community. This is a huge cultural community and when you talk pan, you talk community, you talk families and we are so grateful for the reinstatement.”
One of the young arrangers was 20-year-old Kymani Sandy with the Plymouth / Bethesda Steel Sensation. He said the last time the band made it to the semis was in 2019 with arranger Augustus Melville so he was happy to do so his first time arranging for Panorama.
The band played Kelvon “The Mighty Duke” Pope’s 1987 hit, Is Thunder, and he believed the band executed the song very well. He added that he would love to be in the finals for people to hear their performance.
Port of Spain Mayor Chinua Alleyne said he was glad to work with Pan Trinbago to support the good work Ramsey-Moore had been doing, and he would continue to support the growth and development of the national instrument, the organisation and the players, especially the youths.
“The performances have been excellent so far. The competition is very fierce. We’re very happy to have this competition once again return to the capital city.”
He said Port of Spain was about people and pan, as was Pan Trinbago, so there was a “natural synergy” between the organisation and the city.
Motown Pan Theatre Steel Orchestra from San Fernando could not make it to the semis so there were 29 bands vying for the 14 spots in the finals on January 12.