Members of the Pan Angels band of Enterprise lived up to their name Tuesday night, playing a heavenly version of the Ricardo Dennis arrangement of Benjai’s, “I’m a Trini”, at the pan yard judging competition.
Little did the judges or the small audience know that the seemingly flawless rendition was perfected in a matter of six days, on borrowed instruments. This is because the two-year old band had no instruments of its own or finance to support its initiative.
With just five pans to practice on up until last week , two retired soldiers, arranger Ricardo Dennis and manager Peter Ralph, seeing the commitment and dedication of the young players, did not have the heart to disappoint them. Dennis, the first time arranger with the band explained their predicament.
“From what I was told, a group of people from three different bands agreed to help out last year and due to some misunderstanding, they took back their pans. Mr Ralph, being an old soldier, decided to hold on to the youths and keep them in check because you know how challenging the crime situation is in the Enterprise area.
“He decided to go out there and borrow some pans from elsewhere. We started in the pan yard with two tenors and three low seconds. We subsequently got two bass instruments and on Tuesday night ended up with 17 pans. As the arranger, I was very pleased with the outcome, given the challenges of getting instruments and that the players only had six days to prepare,” Dennis said.
The band started practicing the piece last Thursday and had to put in several long hours. “We practiced for long hours, from 9 am to 9 pm over the weekend because school was reopening on Monday, and the majority of players are students. Most of the adults are engine room players.” Dennis is hoping that Tuesday night’s performance can take Pan Angels into the next level of the competition. “This would boost their morale.”
In the interim the band’s executive are already putting in arrangements in place for the continuation of the band. “We want to start a repertoire to keep the children interested and look for engagements to keep them occupied. We also want to try and get 75 percent of the instruments by August in preparation for Panorama 2019. We have spoken to someone who makes the pan and once we get financing he is prepared to make pans for us at a reasonable cost.”
Dennis said as old soldiers they intend to approach their former colleague, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon for financial support.
“Although National Security is not culture, if culture and security work together the crime situation could improve. If the culture is better off, the crime situation could be helped, it could keep the youths off the streets.”