STARLIFT Steel Orchestra will be the recipient of three more years of sponsorship from Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd (MHTL).
This was announced during the Starlift on Fire event held at Starlift panyard last Tuesday night.
Dr Euric A Bobb, chairman of MHTL, said three years ago, when his board decided to expand the scope and visibility of the company’s social engagement with the national community, support for the steelband movement seemed an obvious choice. Not only is the steelband TT’s unique, iconic brand, but it is also an ideal vehicle for building social capital, knitting communities together, and uplifting young people in wholesome group activity while at the same time providing the pure joy of musical entertainment.
After lauding the band’s three Panorama wins in 1969 with the Bull by Lord Kitchener and 1971 with Queen of the Bands by Sparrow (Slinger Francisco), both arranged by Ray Holman and the overwhelming victory in 1978 when the band played Du Du Yemi sung by Sparrow, written by Winsford Devine and arranged by Herschel Puckerin, Bobb spoke of the hard times the band fell upon and its struggles to renew itself in the face of dislocation from its traditional site and increasingly straitened finances.
He said: “MHTL entered a three-year sponsorship agreement with the band intent on helping it to build teamwork, instil discipline, renew its equipment and reach out to young people in its catchment area of St James and Woodbrook. We knew that working together to recapture the spirit of 'We Not I' would yield results.
“Much as we know that Panorama is not everything, as sponsors we are proud that Starlift was a finalist in two of the last three years.
This funding will go towards the growth and development of the band, including preparations for Panorama competitions, and its education and cultural initiatives in the community.
Bobb challenged the band to deepen its involvement with schools in its catchment area by drawing more young people into its musical literacy programme, which he said is a key to sustaining excellence and recapturing past glory.
He added: “Starlift is not just an icon for TT, but a central part of the fabric of the community."
David Cassidy, deputy chairman of MHTL and CEO of the parent company Proman, said: “Since 1956, the band has overcome challenges and grown with boundless ambition. Six decades later, Starlift continues to live the legacy that was established by its first captain Jene Peters. This is an ethos that we at MHTL and within the wider Proman Group both value and aspire towards.
“Local community initiatives like this are among the most meaningful contributions the corporate sector can make. This is why Proman, both as a group and through its subsidiaries like MHTL, supports community projects across the country.”
With a presence in TT since the 80s, Proman employs over 1,000 TT people with 500 more in its global operations.”
Cassidy added that through Proman’s TT subsidiaries, it is involved in projects including education and training support, housing projects, sponsorships of musical and community initiatives, and more.
After last month’s devastating flooding, Proman donated $1 million to assist relief efforts and over the coming months it will be increasing its community support efforts, with new partnerships and more investments, building on its ongoing, long-term commitment to TT.
MHTL Starlift Juniors then delighted guests with the playing of Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, Despacito, Shape of You, Take Five and Never Let Go, and after a short break the senior band took over the stage performing El Cumbanchero, Overjoyed, 100 ways, Nutcracker Suite: Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy/Trepak, Oh Holy Night, Secrets of Christmas, My Way and a Kitchener/Sparrow medley before closing with Penny Lane.