Soca music drew the largest crowd ever for a preliminary night of panyard judging on Monday, and Port of Spain stood still under a crescent moon as emotions ran high and the sound of pan rose from seven different locations.
On Monday evening, there was a massive pileup of both people and vehicles, young and old, throughout the city and not even the police escort was able to get the judges to the various locations speedily. This was the night the preliminary round judging for Large Conventional bands in the North Zone for National Panorama kicked off.
Pan aficionados and music lovers were seen walking from the corner of Park and Frederick Streets to bp Renegades’ panyard on Charlotte Street for the start of the event.
Renegades played Duvone Stewart’s arrangement of Aaron “Voice” St Louis’ hit song Year For Love. There was a thunderous roar followed by clouds of confetti after the 100 players performed the seven-minute-and-49 second piece. An ecstatic Stewart received hugs and handshakes from supporters and management.
The next stop was at Massy Trinidad All Stars and the procession of people was seen going around Piccadilly Street onto Duke Street. Many took up a vantage point across the Dry River facing All Stars.
In the yard, Ultimate Rejects performed Lightning Flash to entertain the hundreds of fans gathered to hear All Stars play a Leon “Smooth” Edwards arrangement of the song. All Stars put on a very good show, with the frontline players dancing and singing while playing for six minutes and 52 seconds. This performance was witnessed by Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Speaker of the House Bridgid Annisette-George and senior counsel Martin Daly, as well as Massy’s top management.
It took a while to get to Desperadoes’ new location on Tragarete Road, where the judges’ vehicle could not get into the yard through the solid mass of people.
Pan Trinbago’s president Keith Diaz welcomed all and, referring to the crowd, commented on how important steelpan is to TT.
Desperadoes played arranger Carlton “Zanda” Alexander’s interpretation of Voice’s Year for Love and the players did not disappoint.
After the performance Voice told Newsday, “This is the first time I am into the Panorama thing. It is amazing. It is a new experience for me. I never expected this, knowing where the song started off. And to have Desperadoes playing it, this is truly great.”
Further down Tragarete Road, this was the first time Silver Stars had played under a new sponsor. The players of Nutrient Silver Stars executed Prof Liam Teague’s arrangement of Ultimate Rejects’ Lightning Flash with energy and vigour.