Salisha James, head of Pan Trinbago’s Tobago region, believes the island’s steelbands are progressing in the artform despite the organisation’s challenges.
“The bands’ performances have been very well so far,” she told Newsday Tobago on Monday. Tobago bands gave a formidable showing over the weekend with five of its bands qualifying for the finals in the Small Conventional band category of Panorama 2019, while two others secured places in the finals of the Medium band category.
“We have had the most bands in any region in the Small band category for 2019 and out of the 14 bands that qualified for the final, we have five. That is more than all of the other regions. So, that is a good achievement,” said James.
She added: “It shows development and improvement moving forward, honestly because we performed well last year and it happening this year again, despite all of the trials and stuff that Pan Trinbago is going through. The Tobago bands are persevering and we are continuing to move up the ranks.”
Making it to the finals in the Small band category were C&B Crown Cordanns (Crown Point); Uptown Fascinators (Scarborough); Alpha Pan Pioneers (Scarborough); T&TEC New East Side Dimension (Belle Garden) and West Side Symphony (Patience Hill).
Two-time national medium band champions, Black Rock’s Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra, performing the late Winston Bailey’s (Shadow’s) Stranger and NGC Steel Xplosion, of Carnbee, with Irwin Reyes Johnson’s (Scrunter’s) Sing In De Party, also advanced in their category.
Another Tobago band, NLCB Buccooneers, which made its debut, this year, in the Large band category, narrowly missed a spot in the March 2 final at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Pan Trinbago President Beverly Ramsey-Moore said she was pleased with the performance of all of the bands in this year’s competition, thus far.
“The standard was extremely high, even for those who did not qualify for the finals,” she said.
“They responded to the call for excellence in pan and I can see that they are truly ready to embrace the new direction and change we are bringing, where we have summoned the spirit of prosperity. And, as such, brighter days are ahead.”